SA woman who lost family in Afghanistan terror says their deaths were not in vain

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

Dr Hannelie Groenewald, who lost her aid worker husband, Werner and two children, Jean-Pierre, 17, and Rode, 15,  in a Taliban terror attack in Afghanistan at the weekend, says their blood was not shed in vain and her purpose on earth has not yet been fulfilled.

She was at work in a medical clinic when the terrorists attacked the compound of an international humanitarian aid agency, Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD), killing her family members and two Afghan people. Werner Groenewald tried to protect his children moments before they were all shot dead on November 29.

In a letter of thanks to all who have been praying for her, Hannelie, who is still in Kabul, says:

“Dear Family in Christ

“Just a message of sincere thanks for all your prayers for me and my family as well as the Afghan families that are grieving now, after the horrific attack on Saturday afternoon, for the loss of their dear ones.

“Words cannot describe the intense pain I’m feeling, and if I could have gone to be with them, I surely would. But God decided otherwise. It is not for me to question why this has happened, or why He decided that I should stay behind, because I know for a fact that their blood wasn’t shed in vain. I also know that my purpose on earth hasn’t been fulfilled yet.

“It is ironic that Werner shared at the Incontext conference about a month ago about ‘Counting the cost for Christ.’ It was good for me to hear him speak about the subject because I was again inspired by his words. Little did I know how big that cost would be for me in about a month from then.

“I mourn my family, but I experience supernatural peace that can only be from God. I can NEVER doubt God’s love and kindness because only when you go through something like this, you realize how much God loves us. God promised to never leave us nor forsake us. I can honestly testify of that.

“The love and care I experience from the Body of Christ is totally overwhelming. It carries me. It helps me to be able to think logically now in order to wrap things up here, not only for the NGO, but also to say goodbye to everyone (Afghans and foreigners) whom I’ve grown to love dearly over the years.

“Thank you for your continued prayers. I deeply appreciate you. May the testimony of Werner and the kids’ lives and death continue to shine it’s light in a world that seems to be becoming darker by the day.

“I know that the seeds of their lives in the ground will produce a 100 or 1000 fold harvest that will only glorify God.

“With much love,


Funeral services for the three South African Christians are being planned at the family’s home church, the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in Moreleta Park, Pretoria, where Werner was previously a pastor.

A short memorial service for the Groenewald family members who died in Kabul will be conducted at DRC Grasvoelkop in Barbet Street, Cotswold Extension, Port Elizabeth, on Sunday, December 7 from 10:15 for 10:30 (after morning service which starts at 09:00). The service will be in Afrikaans.

One Comment

  1. Ethel Phillips

    May ur name be Ruth not Naomi.My family identify with ur pain.I lost my parents and brother in Mozambiqur renamo issues.My father was co-pilot in combat special forces during SA struggle for independence. The LORD has healing in HIS WINGS.0764764484waterkloofridge pretoria