No One Abandoned: Half a Mile under the Earth for 69 Days

By Bob Fugate, serving in Chile

An Alliance pastor in Chile is one of five area pastors who were asked to be a part of the pastoral care team for the rescue effort of the 33 trapped miners.

Technical help came in from around the world to rescue the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, for more than two months. Seventeen days after the cave-in, the miners were discovered alive, buried 2,300 feet under solid rock.

Today, after 69 days underground, they are being rescued in front of a worldwide audience. Around midnight last night, I was in a meeting when we received the call that the first miner had been brought alive to the surface via the 28-inch hole. What amazed all of Chile was the revelation yesterday that the miners were arguing over who should be last to the surface. Not first, but last! None of the miners wanted to abandon their friends.

A Nation Rejoices

All of Chile rejoices tonight. But we have some more news that will make you even more excited about this breaking story. Cheryl and I have been to the desert city of Copiapo numerous times; it is about a 12-hour drive north of Santiago. The Alliance has a small church there.  We are good friends with Pastor Antonio Carcamo and his wife, Betty. Cheryl helped them with Women’s Encounter, and I have had the privilege of speaking at the church. Here are some facts that make this story even more amazing.

Pastor Antonio Carcamo of the Copiapo Alliance Church accompanied the NASA specialists to the mine site to be briefed on the psychological and emotional needs of the trapped miners. Pastor Carcamo was one of five area pastors selected to join the pastoral care team for the rescue effort. He was on call and in constant contact with the regional governor during the crisis. He tells how the men held Bible studies and services twice a day during their ordeal. Bibles were among the supplies requested by the men.

The drill that was used for the shaft that reached the miners came from Berlin, Pennsylvania. I have had the privilege of knowing several Berlin Alliance Church members and their pastor. Go, Berlin!  Chile thanks you. You make us proud.

To the Rescue!

One of the helicopters transferring the miners to the hospital is piloted by our friend, Lt. Isaac Espinoza, presidential pilot and member of our Alliance congregation in Santiago, the Church of the Vineyard.

Isaac and his wife serve in the music ministry of the church and in Marriage Encounter. On the day of the February 27 earthquake, Isaac piloted then President of Chile to the earthquake site. Today, Isaac is flying the rescued miners to the hospital.

Cheryl and I want to thank you for your support of Alliance missions, enabling us to minister in Chile for 20 years. We think of how the nation of Chile did not abandon the 33 lost miners; how much more should we, who know the love of God, press on with our efforts to reach a lost mankind that is buried beneath the rubble of sin and injustice! No one should ever be abandoned.

What You Can Do

When you give to the Great Commission Fund, you partner with Alliance field workers, like Bob and Cheryl Fugate, in sharing the message of salvation with people who need Jesus.

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