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Chilean Miner Speaks at DBU Chapel
March 28, 2012 | by Kalie Lowrie
Dallas, TX – "Without any doubt, the power of God has no limits", Jose Henriquez shared with students at Dallas Baptist University during a chapel service on Monday, March 26. Henriquez was one of 33 Chilean miners trapped in a miner's shaft in Copiapo, Chile, for 69 days in 2010. He shared with those in attendance about God's provision during a time of waiting and praying for rescue.
Assisted by translations from Dr. Bob Garrett, director of the Master of Arts in Global Leadership at DBU and Piper Chair of Missions, Henriquez shared that this was not the first accident he had experienced in his mining career. Having been a Christian for more than 30 years, he has seen God's hand on his life. This particular accident, however, received world-wide notice, and for that he refers to it as "God's accident" since God used it to make Himself known.
Jose Henriquez, was the guest chapel speaker at Dallas Baptist University on Monday, March 26. Henriquez was one of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010. He is pictured with his wife, Blanca, and DBU alumnus Miguel Faundez.
The explosion which set the story in motion occurred in the mining shaft Henriquez was working in on August 5, 2010. After assessing the damage and accounting for all 33 miners, they soon realized that all of the exits were blocked. Henriquez and his co-workers came to the conclusion that only God could save them.
All of the miners were aware that Henriquez was a Christian, and soon they gave him the assignment of leading the group in a prayer.
Henriquez recounted telling his friends, "as God's children we pray to the living God, so if you want to pray to that God I will, but if you want to do something else, then look for somebody else. They said, 'We want to pray the way you know how to pray.' So we began to pray in an incredible way."
The miners began a practice that lasted the 69 days of holding a prayer service every day at 12 noon and 6 p.m. As the days progressed, those in the group, even those who were not Christian, became more willing to join in prayer and sing praise songs.
"For us, prayer was so important," he explained. "We felt God's presence in a very special way."
During the two months that they were trapped, Henriquez was confident God would save them. The miners also felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with them. They saw physical healing take place, reconciliation between miners, and a provision of food and nourishment that could only be attributed to God's miraculous power.
"It was amazing to watch the Lord responding to us, even in the dark ... we began to see what God was planning to do with each of us," he expressed. "That was the reason we could be tranquil. We could have peace and be united together."
"God didn't need any doors to get down there in the mine where we were," Henriquez continued. "Every time we called on His name, He came. He was there, and He was present."
One week before the miners were rescued, Henriquez felt the need to hold a worship service and present the Gospel to his friends. Joined by a minister above ground, the miners were presented with the opportunity to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ, and 22 became Christians.
Then, the time came to be rescued. Before anyone left, the group came together and prayed, thanking God for saving their lives. They prayed for blessings over the capsule that would take them to freedom and greatly rejoiced together when they finally made their way above ground again.
Henriquez testified that this accident was meant to bring glory to God. Fifteen days after he was saved, he began traveling around the world, sharing about the miracle that occurred. He counts it an honor to bear witness to the saving power of the Lord.
As he concluded his testimony, he was given a standing ovation by those in attendance. "Please don't give me praise," the humble and gracious man said. "The glory goes to Jesus Christ. He is the one who accomplished this."
Henriquez has written a book recounting his experiences entitled Miracle in the Mine: One Man's Story of Strength and Survival in the Chilean Mines by Zondervan publishing. He continued his talk during a luncheon for DBU faculty and staff held in the Hillcrest Great Hall of the John G. Mahler Center on the campus.