Some 6 or 7 weeks ago, 33 miners were rescued from 700 metres under the earth while the world watched. Their rescue was anticipated by loved ones, friends, the media and many around the world who were praying for their safe release. When they went on shift 69 days before, they couldn’t have known what was to befall them in the space of a few hours.

That they were saved so dramatically is  testament to the tenacity of the Chilean government and to the rescue teams who worked tirelessly to effect the    rescue. The situation below and above ground gave rise to many emotions and feelings. Feelings of sadness and    despair, anger and worry but also love as seen in the vigil kept by the families of the miners.


In the mine were a variety of men with differing personalities and character. Some were resilient, some were       distraught but all were afraid. In the midst of that fear, it became clear that many were not just trusting in the skill of the engineers drilling the rescue shaft. One miner in particular, a Jose        Henriquez by name, was a Christian and he would prove to be a shaft of light in the darkness of the mine shaft.    Mentioned by some in the media, he led prayers morning and evening. He     organised bible studies and shared with others the faith that was sustaining him through their ordeal. One might say he had a captive audience, but in the    circumstances, his only thought was to bring comfort to his colleagues. Equally his  concern was also for those above ground and was instigator in securing pastoral help for the waiting families.


Others in the mine also shared his Christian faith, but until this point many of their colleagues hadn’t thought of eternity. Like a lot of people, it would take extreme circumstances to bring into sharp focus the realities of life and death. Some were so moved by their imprisonment, they expressed fear at what

seemed like the eternal darkness as spoken of in the Bible.


As Jose Henriquez spoke of the gospel to the men, even in the gloom of the mine, there was a joy brought to their souls when at least 2 of the men      accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Not only underground, but above ground as well, there were some who came to trust the Lord Jesus for salvation. Sometimes it takes a        catastrophe such a this to move men and women to think of their souls. In the Bible in the book of the Acts, there’s an incident where an earthquake shook the prison buildings at a place called      Philippi, Macedonia (Acts Ch 16) and many were saved as a result.


The obvious reaction of many around the world was one of joy and happiness, but there were other reactions as well. Some were disinterested in a situation so far away. Others were cynical of such expressions of faith and hope, and felt there may have been elements of hysteria and hype. But the fact remains that in the quietness and darkness of the mine, men came face to face with God. Some claimed God saved them out of the disaster; thankfully some were saved in the disaster!


As often happens with events broadcast in the media, time slips by quickly and we tend to forget. Out of the 33 miners, only 12 were able to return for a service of thanksgiving held some days after the rescue. A number would not have been able to attend due to the stress and anxiety of their ordeal.

Who was the first to return to the scene that day? Yes, Jose Henriquez, who demonstrated the strength of his faith and thankfulness to God by his actions.

In the aftermath of the event, a number of other miners are reported to have trusted the Lord Jesus for salvation. And there may be more yet. Perhaps among those who watched from a distance there may have been some who bowed the knee to accept the same Saviour, What will it take to speak to your soul? Sometimes God speaks in different ways, but when he speaks we need to listen.

The Lossie Light