South African family murdered in Afghanistan inducted onto martyr’s memorial

Werner and Hannelie Groenewald, photographed in October (PHOTO: IN Context Ministries).

Originally published in Charisma News

The induction ceremony of Werner, Jean-Pierre and Rode Groenewald onto the Martyrs Memorial in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was streamed online last Saturday as part of the inaugural Day of the Christian Martyr.

Werner, Hannelie and their two children, Jean-Pierre and Rode, left their comfortable lives in South Africa to serve as missionaries in Afghanistan after 9/11. They served the Afghan people for more than 10 years, Hannelie as a doctor and Werner in leadership development and humanitarian aid. On November 29 2014 the Taliban attacked their home, killing Werner, Jean-Pierre and Rode. Hannelie was not home at the time of the attack.

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“The Groenewald family answered God’s call in spite of the risks,” said VOM’s Todd Nettleton. “They knew the danger in Afghanistan, but they were more concerned for people who didn’t know Christ than for their own comfort or safety. I hope my grandkids and great-grandkids will someday see the Groenewalds’ names on the memorial and be inspired by their willing, sacrificial gospel service.”

See video below of the Martyrs Memorial induction ceremony:

John Weaver, the author of Inside Afghanistan and a personal friend and co-worker of the Groenewalds, served as keynote speaker for the induction ceremony, and thousands participated via Facebook Live.

The Groenewalds’ story will be included in a new, updated edition of Foxe’s: Voices of the Martyrs to be published this year by Salem Books. The book is a modern-day update of the classic Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which has inspired generations of Christians with the stories of those who have willingly suffered and died for the name of Christ.

The Martyrs Memorial is located at The Voice of the Martyrs ministry centre in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Voice of the Martyrs is a nonprofit organisation that serves persecuted Christians in more than 70 nations and calls American believers to prayer and action on their behalf.

You can see the Groenewalds’ full story and watch the Martyrs Memorial induction ceremony at Other resources for Day of the Christian Martyr are still available for free download on this site.

One Comment

  1. I read Hannelie Groenewald’s book and can recommend it wholeheartedly. We serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.Obedience is everything, thank you Hannelie