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AFGHANISTAN: God’s Kingdom Advancing One Heart at a Time

AFGHANISTAN: God’s Kingdom Advancing One Heart at a Time

Hundreds of small groups are meeting in homes throughout Afghanistan to study the Bible using a storytelling method, according to a VOM worker.

The small groups have been especially effective at reaching women, who in Afghanistan are limited mostly to the home. Social media, which can place Bibles in the hands of people who have never read God’s Word, is another effective means of outreach. Still, many people groups and language groups do not yet have access to the Scripture in their language.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Thank the Lord for the way He is building His church and encouraging His disciples in Afghanistan.
  • Pray for all those involved in Bible translation, printing, and distribution.
  • Commit to God all those who are sharing the Gospel from home to home and online – may the Lord use their efforts to great effect.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

AFGHANISTAN: God at Work, More Labourers Needed

AFGHANISTAN: God at Work, More Labourers Needed

Christian workers report several encouraging developments in the difficult mission field of Afghanistan.

Though Christian faith was once more prominent in the country, most Afghans today have never heard the Gospel, do not know a Christian and have been raised since birth to pursue an unquestioned allegiance to Mohammed’s teachings. Local and national governments are highly antagonistic toward Christians. Extremist groups, including the Taliban and ISIS, are active, and believers are persecuted by their families, friends and communities.

However, God is at work in this nation. Seven new believers formed a house church after being baptised recently, translators are working on three new Bible projects for minority languages, and followers of Christ are now present in every one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Prayer is still greatly needed for Afghan believers, for the spread of the Gospel in Afghanistan and for the estimated 40 million unreached Pashtun people worldwide.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for more labourers; ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field (Matthew 9:38).
  • Pray for the success of various media projects, such as films, radio, satellite TV and social media outreaches.
  • Pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in Afghanistan.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Hannelie Continues the Race

Hannelie Continues the Race

Hannelie Groenewald and her family were missionaries in Afghanistan in 2014 when a targeted Taliban attack claimed the lives of her husband and two children. Today, despite her grief, Hannelie continues to share Jesus.

Hannelie and her husband Werner moved to Afghanistan from their native South Africa in 2003. A missions trip confirmed to them that they were to move their family to this war-torn country.

Over the years, Werner served with various humanitarian organisations, providing leadership training, community development education and English language courses.

“Fearless service to Christ became a theme for Werner, and something he spoke of often. In October 2014, Werner spoke at a conference on the subject of ‘Counting the Cost for Christ’. He ended it by saying, “We die only once. It might as well be for Christ”.

While Werner thrived in his work, Hannelie supported her husband and family.

“My main focus in Afghanistan was to support my husband and to be God’s hands and feet to the Afghan people, and also to shine my light and be salt”.

On 29 November 2014, Hannelie was on her way home when her driver received a text message warning her that the building where her family lived and worked had faced an attack.

As they arrived, police and armoured vehicles blocked the way and a crowd had gathered outside her building. No one would let her go inside and she was forced to wait, praying for her family the whole time.

That evening, she discovered that three men had stormed the building and her husband and two children were shot and killed.

She eventually moved back to South Africa to bury her family and mourn their loss.

Four years after the attack, Hannelie will tell you, “It is well with my soul”. Although it wasn’t easy for her to find this peace, she knows God has been with her.

Hannelie eventually wrote a book about her experience and today, she is remarried and continues to travel and speak alongside Afghan Christians both inside Afghanistan and around the world.

Hannelie said she is often asked if she was ever angry with God for the deaths of her family members, and her answer is “never”.

“We had a clear calling”, she said. “We had a mandate with this; we counted the cost. We knew that something like this could happen. God allowed that for a reason.

“I know that they are actually chasing me on to finish the race as well, to finish well”, she continued. “I believe one day Jean-Pierre will say, ‘Mum, what took you so long to get here?’ I believe they are where they are supposed to be, on Jesus’ lap, and I cannot wait to be there as well. But I have to finish this race for the Lord”.

We first told Hannelie’s story in October 2017; this is the most recent update

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

AFGHANISTAN: Kidnapped Finnish Woman Freed

AFGHANISTAN: Kidnapped Finnish Woman Freed

A Finnish aid worker held hostage for nearly four months in Afghanistan was freed on 14 September. She had been kidnapped from an international guesthouse in Kabul, run by her employer, Operation Mercy, when it was attacked in May; her German female colleague and Afghan guard were killed. The unnamed woman was studying Dari, preparing for her first assignment.

The Swedish-based aid organisation said “It is with great joy that we confirm the release of our Finnish colleague, who was abducted on 20 May. The well-being of our colleague is being assessed at this time. We request privacy for our colleague and our colleague’s family.”

Finland’s foreign ministry confirmed she was “safe” but gave no further details.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, nor for holding her hostage.

The German woman had worked in Afghanistan for 13 years (with Operation Mercy since 2011) and headed a literacy project. “Both [women] were experienced and had a deep desire to serve the people of Afghanistan,” said the organisation in a statement shortly after the May attack.

The guard, who was beheaded, was employed directly by the residents of the compound, not by the aid agency.

Guesthouse neighbours told the German broadcaster ZDF that the perpetrators seemed to have slipped quietly into the guesthouse premises. Operation Mercy said they had broken into the women’s residence, and that other staff were not affected, nor were they aware of the incident as it unfolded.

After the incident, the Finnish foreign ministry, together with the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security, launched an investigation, urging “the immediate release of the kidnapped person.”

Operation Mercy has over 300 staff worldwide. Its work in Afghanistan includes projects helping to reduce infant mortality, provide leadership training and help to empower women.

Sources: World Watch Monitor, BBC

  • Thank the Lord for this answered prayer. Continue to pray for her as she overcomes her ordeal and considers her future.
  • Remember the family members still in mourning and pray these deaths will not be in vain but be used by the Lord for good.
  • Pray for the protection of others serving in ministry in Afghanistan so they can continue to assist many
    in need.
Hannelie’s Story

Hannelie’s Story

They counted the cost. They knew Christ was worthy, and they willingly put their lives on the line and paid the ultimate price.

Hannelie Groenewald had expected the Taliban’s attack in Kabul that day. She and other doctors from her clinic had even been put on standby at a UN meeting in case of attack. Nothing, however, had prepared her for the Taliban’s actual target.

A terrible silence hung in the air, and nothing seemed to move. The usual city noises of traffic, horns and barking dogs were strangely absent. As darkness approached, Hannelie noticed that no lights were on in their top-floor apartment. She worried and prayed while awaiting news of her family.

At 5:45pm, the silence was shattered by the sound of gunfire, followed by a large explosion. Onlookers in the street scattered for cover.

Hannelie was to learn later, her husband and two children had not survived.

Answering the Call
Before moving to Afghanistan in 2003, Hannelie and her husband, Werner, had discussed the possibility of dying in the war-torn country. They considered the dangers of raising their two children, Jean-Pierre, then five, and Rodé, then three, in a region dominated by the Taliban. They knew their lives would be drastically different from the life they had known in South Africa. Yet God’s call was just as real as the dangers they would face, and they knew obedience to Him mattered more than their fears.

Still worth it
Nearly three years after the attack, Hannelie will tell you, “It is well with my soul.” Although it hasn’t been easy for her to find this peace, she knows God has been with her through everything.

Looking back on her family’s years in Afghanistan, she said it was worth it. She wouldn’t change a thing.

“I don’t think that we will ever know 100% what the impact is of what we made in Afghanistan through the years,” she said. “I think that we will know that one day, though, when we are in front of the Lord. But I believe that we made an impact on people’s lives. I believe, also, that my family’s blood that was shed, is like the seed for the Afghan church and that there will be a thousand-fold harvest in the end, because I believe God has the last move.”

Hannelie said she is proud of her family’s obedience to Christ; she knows their sacrifice and service was for God’s glory.

“It is easy for us as Christians to worship the Lord on Sundays in church and praise Him, but it is difficult to have a heartfelt obedience to the Lord and go when He calls you,” she said. “I believe there is a price tag attached to being a real born-again believer. Jesus Christ was persecuted Himself. He was crucified and we, his students, we are nothing better than He is or He was. It will happen to us as well if you really live a lifestyle that is like that of a born-again believer following the Lord in obedience. There will be a price to pay.”

“We had a clear calling,” she said. “We had a mandate with this; we counted the cost. We knew that something like this could happen. God allowed that for a reason.

“I know that they are actually chasing me on to finish the race as well, to finish well,” she continued. “I believe one-day Jean-Pierre will say, ‘Mum, what took you so long to get here?’ I believe they are where they are supposed to be, on Jesus’ lap, and I cannot wait to be there as well. But I have to finish this race for the Lord.”

See Hannelie tell her story  below.