God called John Weaver to Afghanistan as a single man, and he stayed in the country even after 9/11 when the U.S. government encouraged all Americans to leave. John committed his singleness to God, making peace with the fact that he might never get married while living and working in an isolated village in Afghanistan.
It was only weeks after making that commitment that John met Jeanne—an American woman born in Kabul whom God had brought from half a world away to be John’s bride.
Listen to the story of their amazing romance, which is also told in a new book called Najiba: A Love Story from Afghanistan (affiliate link). You’ll hear how they courted and married according to Afghan traditions, honoring the culture in which they served while still shining as a lighthouse for Christ and for God’s amazing blessing that is Christian marriage.
John will also demonstrate specific ways we can pray for Afghanistan.
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What questions would you expect from a Christian suffering in prison for their faith? When Dr. Hormoz Shariat from Iran Alive Ministries received a call from an imprisoned church leader in Iran, he expected hard questions about suffering and why God would allow it.
Instead, the Iranian man simply encouraged Hormoz. Imprisonment, and even torture, were an honor, this brother said, because he was suffering for Christ.
Persecution of Christians in Iran—especially converts from Islam—is different from other places. In most Islamic nations, persecution starts with the convert’s own family. But in Iran, Pastor Hormoz says, most people—including Muslims—have a favorable view of Christianity, and don’t take offense at family members following Christ.
Persecution in Iran is real, though, coming from the Islamic government that knows it has lost the hearts of the people—and is turning to violence to maintain power and control.
Listen and be encouraged by how the church in Iran is growing, with specific stories of Iranians who have left Islam behind to follow Jesus Christ. The challenge now, Hormoz tells us, is not evangelism. The challenge is to disciple the many new Christians in Iran and help them mature in their faith. He will share how Iran Alive is creating resources specifically for the Persian church. Finally, Hormoz will help us pray specifically for Christians inside Iran—and for government leaders as well.
You can connect directly with Iran Alive ministries by texting “Iran” to 74784.
In the second half of this conversation, Hannelie Groenewald recalls the day her husband and two teen-aged children were killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The names of Werner, Rodé and Jean-Pierre Groenewald will be unveiled on the Martyrs Memorial in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on Saturday, June 29 as a part of the commemoration of Day of the Christian Martyr, 2019.
In this interview, recorded in 2016, Hannelie recalls the Psalm she read over and over again as she waited to hear whether her family members were alive or dead, and the amazement of Afghans at her ability to forgive the Taliban which had murdered her entire family. She’ll also describe the blessing of knowing that Christians around the world were praying for her as she grieved—and the hope she has because of God’s promise of eternity in heaven.
Hannelie shares hard-earned truth with listeners who may be struggling to forgive someone who has wronged them, and her thoughts on working through fear with God’s help. She’ll also equip us to pray more effectively for the nation of Afghanistan and for our Christian brothers and sisters there.
You can watch the induction ceremony for Werner, Jean-Pierre and Rodé Groenewald onto the Martyrs Memorial by going to www.Persecution.com/martyr. The event will also be available through Facebook Live on the VOM Facebook page.
Listen to Part 1 of the conversation here.
After the attacks of 9/11, God called Werner and Hannelie Groenewald to go and share Jesus’ love in Afghanistan. Even some of their own family members said, ‘NO! God would never call you to take your children to Afghanistan!’
Inside the country, they served and loved the Afghan people in the name of Jesus. Hannelie, as a doctor, provided medical care. Werner worked in leadership development and humanitarian aid. Their work, and the fact that they served in the name of Jesus, did not go unnoticed by radical Muslims in Afghanistan.
In 2014, a Taliban attack on their home took the lives of Werner and the Groenewalds’ son and daughter, Jean-Pierre and Rodé. Hannelie was not home at the time of the attack, and her life was spared. Listen as she tells the story of God’s call to Afghanistan, and how God increased her faith even in the days and weeks before the attack, preparing her to endure faithfully a terrible loss.
You can watch online as the names of Hannelie’s family, Werner, Jean-Pierre and Rodé are added to The Martyrs Memorial on Day of the Christian Martyr, June 29th. You can find more information, and register to access the video of the ceremony, at www.Persecution.com/martyr.
Ali, a follower of Christ in Iran, and his family have experienced God’s rescue numerous times. First, God rescued Ali’s father from alcoholism. Then Jesus rescued Ali from drug addiction and hopelessness. They began to follow the God Who rescued them. But following Jesus in Iran is costly: persecution came quickly as Ali’s grandfather gave him one week to denounce Christ and return to Islam, or else.
Ali and his parents could never denounce the God Who’d rescued them, though, and they lost their home, their money and their support system.
God miraculously provided for their needs—including a rice bowl that never emptied. Ali and his family couldn’t help but tell everyone around them about the God who rescued people and answered prayer, and soon they’d helped 60 people meet Jesus.
Their ministry was noticed, and Ali’s father and brother were arrested; Ali had to move to a different city to avoid arrest himself. In spite of the risks, he continues to share the gospel stories of Christ, and to see Iranian hearts, sick and tired of religious duty and oppressive leaders, warmed by Jesus’ love. The biggest love, he says, is when you lay down your life for others.
Listen to Ali’s story, including how he and his wife prepare for the possibility of more persecution and specific ways you can pray for the church in Iran, this week on VOM Radio.
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