A Taliban attack was expected, so doctors like Hannelie were on standby to treat the wounded. Not expected, however, was their target — Hannelie’s family.
Hannelie and family
“The Blood of the Martyrs
Is the Seed of the Church”
As a doctor, Hannelie had been warned that a Taliban attack was expected in Kabul, Afghanistan, that day. But she couldn’t have imagined that she would lose her husband and children in the attack, leaving her a childless widow in a matter of moments.

Hannelie, her husband and their two children lived in Afghanistan for 11 years, answering a deeply felt call to serve the Afghan people. Although they understood the dangers of working in a country long terrorized by the Taliban, they chose to be salt and light to those suffering under radical Islam and the violence it inevitably produces.

Dozens of foreign workers were killed by the Taliban while Hannelie and her family served there, and many Afghan believers disappeared or received long prison sentences after conversion to Christianity.

And then came the day — Nov. 29, 2014 — when three members of the Taliban attacked Hannelie’s home with AK-47s and suicide vests. By the time the attack ended, Hannelie’s husband, Werner, and their two teenage children were dead.

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Groenewald memorial
Hannelie survived because she wasn’t at home during the attack. She was on standby as a medical doctor at a high-level meeting where it was feared the attack would take place. Today a black headstone honors the memory of her family in their native South Africa with these words: The Blood of the Martyrs Is the Seed of the Church.

The church remains in Afghanistan, growing steadily despite the Taliban’s oppressive grip on war-weary Afghans. Please pray for believers there, and ask God to work mightily not only among those who know Him but also among the Taliban and other Muslims. You can use VOM’s free prayer guide, Christians Facing Islamic Extremists, to learn more about the Taliban and other Islamist groups as well as specific ways you can pray. Request a guide for yourself, and pass this email along to others who might like a free copy.

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