One of the Chilean miners rescued after a record 69 days trapped underground addressed hundreds of people at a mission conference in Craigavon on Friday. Jose Henriquez, along with his wife Blanca, were among the guest speakers at the “Friday Night Live” mission event organised by the South American Mission Society (SAMS) Ireland. SAMS Ireland has seen growth in recent years with around 700 people packing the Craigavon Civic Centre to hear reports of the work of the Anglican Church in Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Spain.
Jose Henriquez became known as the “Pastor” among the 33 miners because he held fast to his faith in Jesus and led the group in daily prayer and Bible reading. Speaking to the crowd in the Civic Centre through a translator, he explained how his faith helped him survive and revealed previously unknown details such as number of the miners committed their lives to Christ during the crisis. Jose’s wife Blanca, whose reunion with her husband as he emerged from the rescue capsule was seen by up to a billion people live on television, explained how her faith helped her during the ordeal.
The Rev. Alf Cooper, a SAMS prayer partner and the chaplain to the president of Chile, was translating for Jose and Blanca. Alf led the nation’s prayers during the miner crisis and was on the scene during the rescue. He is passionate about mission and is well known for his evangelism and is the leader of a rapidly growing church in Chile. Speaking at the Friday Night Live event he said, “The world witnessed a miracle when Jose was pulled from the depths of the earth. Psalm 130:1 says, “Out of the depths I cry to you Lord”, each of us can experience the same miracle when we cry out to Jesus for salvation.”
Earlier in the evening the Mayor of Craigavon Mr Stephen Moutray MLA, hosted a reception for the Chileans and key people from the SAMS Ireland family. Commenting on the event the Mayor said, “I’ve known of the excellent work of SAMS Ireland for many years. The quality of their staff and mission partners is second to none. We’re delighted that Jose, Blanca and Alf chose Craigavon for their first visit to Northern Ireland. There is no doubt that the Chilean Miner has left a deep impression on all of us.”
Other guest speakers at “Friday Night Live” included Gwen Carlisle and Mags Southern, teachers who have worked for over 30 years in St Andrew’s College in Asunción, an Anglican school in Paraguay. They thanked SAMS Ireland for the quality of the teachers from Ireland who have served there as missionary teachers over the years. Several SAMS Ireland Latin American nationals working in local churches here reported on the growing trend of South American Christians pioneering mission in Ireland.
Sue has been undergoing some tests at Sabadell hospital after feeling quite unwell over the last couple of months. These tests have now shown that Sue has cancer of the pancreas, which was unexpected and has come as quite a shock. The cancer is inoperable and the prognosis is that she will live for about a year. The hospital in Spain began chemotherapy last week and for the time being Sue plans to stay there. Please pray for Sue as she deals with the news and begins treatment, and has to think about practical considerations. Sue has sent me a text message since receiving this news; “He still reigns and is, and will be, faithful.”
Pray for everyone involved and especially the engineers in Chile have begun drilling the rescue shaft through which they hope to eventually free the 33 men trapped in a collapsed mine. The miners have been stuck 2,300ft underground for the past three weeks.
As you all may know my time here in Norn Iron is almost over, as I’m heading back to Chile next Friday (August 27th), but before leaving I just wanted to say thanks to each and everyone of you.
In different moments of my staying here, you have blessed my life with your company, friendship, testimony, service, dedication, love and kindness towards me and our great and amazing God.
During this past year I’ve shared different experiences with you and all this experiences are now part of my memories and have a big piece of my heart.
I really hope in the future I can return to this wee island and see you all again or if you ever want to visit a great and amazing country where you can learn or practice your Spanish, you will be more than welcome in Chile.
I had great ‘craic’, ‘all the best’ and ‘keep er lit’! Hopefully this is not a good bye, it’s just a see you soon, God willing.
Un gran abrazo a cada uno y que la gracia y el amor de Dios los bendiga hoy y siempre, con todo mi amor. (A big hug to everyone and may the grace and love of God bless you today and always, with all my love,)
Cristian Ascui P.
Alf Cooper, mission partner and chaplain to the president of Chile, writes, “Please pray for multiple opportunities that are opening up in the presidential palace to spread the kingdom of God and testify to the name of Jesus.”
Pray for David and Jean Hucker (and their children Wesley and Caleb, studying in the UK) as they minister and lead a congregation in Arica in Northern Chile. Pray for God’s blessing on this important ministry. From mission partners Alf and Hilary Cooper: “Pray for us as we return to Chile in June. We take up responsibilities again in the presidential palace and even more important, our church, La Trinidad de las Condes. We are asking for full blown revival and going after it as the church grows.”
Argentina – Pray for Zewe Chamunda, short termer working in an orphanage in Buenos Aires as she spends her last month on her placement. Pray that she will finish well and make the most of the time she has left on her placement.
Brazil – Pray for Ian and Simea Meldrum as Ian receives chemotherapy treatment. Please pray as the Health Plan that he is with have made this process very difficult. Pray for health for Ian and peace of mind for Simea.
Chile – Pray for Cristóbal Cerón and his family as they plant a church in Santiago with students. Pray that the church grows in maturity as well as numbers. Thank God for the leaders he is raising up in Chile and pray that he will raise up many more.