Jewish Journal

Chilean miners: Gotta have faith*

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 13, 2010 | 12:32 am


*UPDATE: As of 12:33 (Wed., Oct. 13) pm 20 miners have been rescued.

The rescue of Chilean miners is under way, and four of the 33 trapped miners are already tasting freedom and sucking in fresh air for the first time in two months.

One of the miners still waiting his turn 2,000 feet below the Earth’s surface is Jimmy Sanchez, who earlier today sent up a letter, reported by Time showing what has at least given him strength during their incarceration:

“There are actually 34 of us,” wrote Jimmy Sanchez, 19, the youngest trapped miner, in a letter sent up from the shelter on Tuesday through one of the narrow tubes that have been the men’s lifelines, “because God has never left us down here.”

The Christianity Today LiveBlog has more on that and the faith that sustained many of the miners:

Early on, they set aside a space to pray daily, and religious groups have converged on the mine to serve the miner’s spiritual needs. Once a supply line was established, Seventh-Day Adventists sent down mini-Bibles with magnifying glasses; the Jesus Film Project loaded 33 MP3 players with an audio adaptation of the famous JESUS film. A crucifix was sent down in August, and it’s said that miners also requested statues of Mary and the saints. The miners signed a flag which was presented to Pope Benedict this weekend.

Christian leaders of various denominations have come to the San Jose mine; the Guardian is rather bemused by all the activity, describing a “surge in religious fervor” as the rescue operation takes shape.

Baptist Press reports that two miners have “made professions of faith” since their entombment started. Pastors are also ministering to the families of the miners, who have camped out nearby.

“In the midst of this catastrophe, God is in control, and it is the Lord who has kept their family members alive,” says Marcelo Leiva, pastor of Vallenar Baptist Church in Vallenar, Chile.

You definitely have to have faith. And considering what they’ve been through, it’s not the least bit surprising that two miners professed faith that wasn’t previously there.

Now for getting the remaining 29 out alive. Godspeed.

*UPDATE: As of 12:33 (Wed., Oct. 13) pm 20 miners have been rescued.

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