Miracle rescue of trapped Chilean Miners
The story behind the story of the rescued Chilean miners tells of God at work above and below ground as secular engineering experts refer to the operation as a 'miracle'. Christians on the surface prayed while an entombed evangelical preacher kept his colleagues spirits up with prayer.
In an operation which has been termed ‘miraculous’ by the engineering experts involved, even the secular media reports of the rescue of 33 Chilean miners touched on the tremendous ‘story within the story’.
On hearing of the plight of the trapped miners the Reverend Alfredo Cooper who is chaplain in the presidential palace quickly put together an emergency prayer meeting. Speaking to an interviewer Cooper said ‘it was with all our hearts because to imagine these thirty three men a kilometre under the earth not knowing whether they were alive or what was going through their minds. Seventeen days we prayed and then the miracle came when the boring machine glanced off a rock and hit them – hit the cavern they were in – and of course we just erupted in praise.’
Rev. Alfredo Cooper
The clergyman who is a chaplain in the Chilean president’s palace drew attention to a little-reported fact: ‘Many of the miners went down as atheists or unbelievers or semi-believers and they have come up to a man testifying that they were not 33 but that there were 34 down there – that Jesus was there with them and that they had a constant sense of his presence and guidance.”
Wearing t-shirts proclaiming “Thank you, Lord” in Spanish and English, the miners gradually surfaced one by one as their rescue from the collapsed mine was completed.
Evangelist preaches the Gospel 1Km under the surface
During their time underground one of the entombed miners Jose Henriquez, an evangelical preacher, had asked for 33 Bibles to be sent down to the miners in a small capsule and the miners prayed at twelve noon and six o’ clock in the evening.
Mr Henriquez also exchanged written messages to a Baptist minister, Marcelo Leiva. The latter’s final letter encouraged the miners to continue praying and to have confidence in God. He ended with “Be strong and go forward, Hosts of the Faith”, from the Spanish version of the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers.
Applause met Mr Henriquez’s arrival to the surface as he smiled broadly and hugged his wife while Omar Reygadas, a 56-year-old electrician, arrived at the surface and knelt down with a Bible in his hands.
On Mr Reygadas’ helmet were the words ‘God Lives’ and according to some reports the miners’ t-shirts had words from Psalm 95 on the back.
People from around the world commented on a BBC story of the rescue: Nicole in Manila, Philippines, said: “Our prayers for their safe return to their families are unceasing. We join all Chileans around the world in joy and happiness for every miner who comes out safely.
“Praise be to God who is keeping all the brave miners and heroic rescuers safe, and congratulations to the fantastic rescue operations.
S’bongile in Lilongwe, Malawi, said: “I am so happy for these men, I’m glued to my laptop and following whatever is happening. So much praise to God!”.
According to respected Christian organisation Operation World, in the year 2000 16 per cent of Chile’s population were evangelicals.
OW says: “A Pentecostal revival in 1909 within the Methodist Church gave birth to a dynamic, indigenous Pentecostal movement with great evangelistic zeal. The lower classes were evangelized and churches and denominations multiplied.”