Christian Maureira, the national director for Campus Crusade for Christ in Chile, recently spoke with José Samuel Henríquez, miner #24, who became the spiritual leader to the others secluded and scared in the Chilean mine.
Elated with the opportunity to speak on the phone with José, the 2 men talked about several topics. “José confidently told me there wasn’t a moment when he felt forsaken,” says Christian.
José knew the Lord was working.
During the first 17 days, a period of time when the men had no contact with the surface, some of the 33 men began to wonder, Why didn’t God kill us right away? Others wrote letters to be read in the event of their death. Hope was slowly vanishing.
José said he was humbled by the men’s actions and trusted the Lord even more during moments of uncertainty, like when their food supply was almost depleted.
On the sixteenth day of being trapped, despite the men’s attempts to ration, the food box was empty.
In the moment of realizing their need for food, José told Christian how he remembered the story of how Jesus multiplied the bread and the fish. José then led the men in a prayer, asking for the box to be full of food by the next day. They prayed for an abundance of food.
Through the phone, Christian perceived this was the most moving moment for José. “He got choked up by remembering that the next day the probe made contact with them,” says Christian. With the probe, the rescuers were able to send the miners food.
“The multiplication was real,” says Christian. “They saw how the box was filling up with food exceedingly. It was a miracle, a glorious moment.”
Concerning the MP3 players, Christian says the miners were happy to receive them. The men enjoyed the dramatized story telling of the JESUS film and listened to it several times, despite dust, rocks and water falling due to the rescue effort.
“José is, without a doubt, a man of faith: a Christian example in times of crisis,” says Christian. “How would our faith be at 700 meters [~2,000 feet] underground, without hope of life?”
Most of us will never experience a dramatic and extreme situation like this, but José has a peace. He knows the Word of God was planted in other peoples’ lives and trusts that God will finish the work He started.
15 October 2010
By now, most of you have probably seen the t-shirts the miners were wearing as they arose out of the mine that said "¡Gracias Señor!" (Thank You Lord!) and had the JESUS film logo on the sleeve. They were created by our Chile ministry and given to the miners to wear.
The national media has noticed the logo as well. CNN posted an article on their Belief Blog talking about the shirts.
We also wanted to confirm that the miner mentioned by Christian in his letter is miner #24, Jose Samuel Henriquez. Some services list him as Jose Henriquez Gonzalez. By all accounts, he was the spiritual leader of the group.
Would you join us in continuing to praise God for their rescue and the part our fellow staff members played in caring for and serving their needs while trapped.
Editor's Note: We received this update from Christian Maureira, the National Director in Chile, about the Chile ministry's efforts to help the trapped miners.
News From the Miners
By Christian Maureira, Chile National Director
Hello team and friends! I want to share with you about the last 2 very intense weeks as we have worked on the project to take the Word of God and the JESUS audio version to the mine, but it has really be worth the effort as it is food for the soul. This long history of the miners that is now passing 2 months has been without doubt the longest survival experience for people trapped underground.
This all started on the August 5, when the San Jose mine collapsed because of the exploration in the mine. The news was not good as it was only 6 months after we had experience the very large earthquake and tsunami. With a population less than other countries in the world, problems like this seem much closer to you and much more like it is part of your own family.
After 2 weeks without news from the miners we could only think the worst. The government had made every effort, but it was reasonable to think that the miners were lost, above all considering the distance where they were located, some 700 meters (2,000 feet) deep with a difficult future to be rescued. But God had other plans and 2 days later (the 17th day), contact with them was made. Obviously we were all very happy and we celebrated the miracle that all were alive.
As Campus Crusade, God guided us to think about how we could help these men and this was how we took the initiative to contact some churches in the north, leaders and authorities about sending the JESUS audio into the mine. It wasn't easy in the beginning because of some apathy in the Christian leadership and a lack of a sense of urgency, together with the restrictive control of the rescue team but, God in His sovereignty provided that we were able to gain contact with the daughter and the brother of 1 of the 3 Christians that were trapped there.
During several weeks, I was in contact with them and I explored the possibility of sending them audio material. Finally, I traveled to the mine with 33 MP3's containing the JESUS audio version and an ample portion of the Bible. I was there for 2 days and we sent the MP3's through each family members that were there.
Jose Samuel, my contact in the mine (father of Hettiz and brother of Gaston) is an extraordinary man who has really surprised me. The psychologists that are giving help from the surface have recognized that he has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support for the rest of his co-workers.
He sent me a letter that grabbed my attention for his incredible clarity of thought. For example, some parts of the letter are:
"I want to express my appreciation for this great blessing for me and my co-workers, it will be very good our edification" (He is talking about the MP3's)
"I am well because Christ lives in me"
"We have prayer services at 12 a.m. and 6 p.m."
"I ask all of you for pray not only for us here, but for all the lost people in the world"
At the end of the letter he signed off with Psalm 95:4, "In his hand are the depths of the earth, and mountain peaks belong to him."
This is a very motivating story, let's continue to pray for the salvation of these souls. Thanks for being part of this.