Two-thirds of trapped Chilean miners turned to Christ, festival hears

One of the trapped miners rescued last month in Chile has told of the conversion of many of his colleagues during the ordeal.

Jose Henriquez was the 24th man to be brought to the surface. He told thousands of people at the Luis Palau festival in Santiago that 22 out of the 33 trapped miners turned to Christ whilst waiting to be rescued.

During his time underground, Henriquez had become something of a spiritual leader to the trapped men, who called him ‘The Pastor’.

He told the crowds that he had requested and received biblical audio messages from Palau whilst underground.

After thousands of people made a public commitment to Christ at the festival, Henriquez told Palau: “I do hope they will follow through and walk with Christ for life.”

The six day mission was attended by 145,000 and encompassed the coastal city of Vina del Mar.

In a meeting with President Sebastian Piñera, Palau spoke of the importance of public officials recognising God in their statements and speeches, as he quoted 1 Samuel 2:30 which states: “Those who honour me, I will honour.”

Following the successful rescue of the miners, Piñera praised the faith of the miners’ families. Some of the miners were seen praying in the moments after they emerged from the escape capsule.

Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to be freed, said he had “held on to God’s hand” throughout the ordeal, while another freed miner, Jimmy Sanchez, said God “never left us down here”.