I’m no hero, Jesus Christ is, says the evangelical preacher who was one of 33 miners dramatically rescued from a collapsed Chilean mine.
Watch Jose Henriquez’s interview
Jose Henriquez says: “I believe that the key to all this was in the Word of God, in having believed God”. He added: “That’s why I say to the whole world that the Lord wants them to believe in Him to believe in His Word”.
Mr Henriquez led Bible studies down in the mine twice a day and he has been marked out for bringing “calm, God and unity to the most difficult moments”.
He has been praised by one of the team above the mine for the times of prayer and Bible readings which were, “the most special moment for the miners” and he has also been welcomed back to his home town as a hero.
Yet Mr Henriquez says the glory belongs to Jesus Christ. “He is the only hero that should be mentioned. Apart from whatever man may have done both inside and outside that mine, He is the one who deserves the honor and the glory”.
Mr Henriquez’s church pastor says the miner’s knowledge of the Bible was beneficial to him while trapped.
“That helped him because he did not have it to read and he had to draw it out from within his heart, to be able to share it with his companions”, Jose Gonzalez says.
Mr Henriquez, who is 54, says that a number of the miners made commitments to God while trapped underground.
“On the Sunday before we were rescued, I called for a pastor to come, because I am not a pastor,” he says. “So I told my brother in a letter, ‘Bring a pastor that you consider, and that God has confirmed, is a real pastor to come and lead the prayer of salvation.’ And he did that. And around 20 miners said, ‘Yes, they believed in the Lord.'”
Earlier in the month, Richard Villaroel, the 28th miner to be pulled to safety, spoke of how he came close to God down in the mine.
He explained: “I have never prayed before. I learnt to pray down there. I came close to God.”
The Protestant chaplain to Chile’s President has also spoken on the spiritual experience of the miners in a remarkable interview with the BBC.
Reverend Alfredo Cooper said: “Many of the miners went down as atheists or unbelievers or semi-believers and they have come up to a man testifying that they were not 33 but that there were 34 down there – that Jesus was there with them and that they had a constant sense of his presence and guidance.”