SANTIAGO, Chile (BP)--Joy and relief are resounding in Chile upon the successful emergence of some of the 33 miners who have been trapped 2,300 feet below the surface of the earth in the coastal Atacama desert for more than two months.
Photo by Hugo Infante/Government of Chile
When the last man reaches the surface, it will end a national crisis that began when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed Aug. 5, sealing the miners in the lower reaches of the copper and gold mine.
But the traumatic ordeal has forged many new friendships -- perhaps none more important than the ones between the miners and those ministering to them and their families.
Marcelo Leiva, a Baptist pastor, and José Henríquez, one of the miners, had never met before the mine collapse. Instead, they have communicated in handwritten letters and in a single, brief phone conversation.
A half-mile of rock has separated them.
But despite the physical distance, the two Chilean evangelicals developed a special friendship.
Henríquez has been an encouragement to his co-workers as they struggled to stay positive during their confinement. An evangelical Christian, he held daily Bible studies for the miners as rescue efforts developed on the surface.
When Henríquez requested an evangelical pastor to aid the miners and their families at the site, Leiva, of Vallenar Baptist Church in Vallenar, Chile, was contacted. The pastor arrived at Camp Esperanza (Hope) about two weeks ago. Read More