They had been trapped 700 metres underground for 69 days. Two months in the dark. The first 17 days without any hope of rescue. But on 14th October 2010, the last of the 33 miners trapped deep underground in northern Chile were rescued in the glare of the global media spotlight. It was a 24-hour news editor's dream. A very modern story of hope.
However as I was preparing for my Easter Sunday sermon on the theme of 'hope' I discovered the story of the amazing unsung hero of the Chilean miners' rescue. The media chose not to highlight the role he played, but if it had not been for God the outcome of the Chilean mining disaster would have been very different.
One of the men trapped below the surface was Jose Henriquez, an evangelical preacher in his spare time. He soon became the spiritual leader of the group, leading the miners in prayer from the very first horrifying moment of their ordeal. So much so that the other miners used to call him 'the pastor'. He later had Bibles sent down into the mine and led Bible studies with the men. Towards the end of their time 22 of the 33 men committed their lives to Christ.
It's a truly amazing story of the hope the risen Jesus can give in even the most hopeless of situations.
When he toured the UK in January, The Christian Institute interviewed Henriquez. It's an amazing account. I didn't have time to show the video or use the story on Easter Sunday morning, so here it is as an added extra.
It's a wonderful reminder of the rock solid (excuse the pun) hope we celebrated on Easter Sunday and that sustains us as Christians day by day, in good and bad times.
The interview is split into 3 parts.
NOTE: I understand some versions of Internet Explorer don't show these videos properly. If you're having problems with these follow this direct link to the first part and the other parts can be followed from here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_WGnMd7S44&feature=related