Photo by Hugo Infante/Government of Chile
It was early February 2010, during one of my times in prayer, when God placed the nation of Chile in my heart. At first it was a passing thought, but then I couldn’t get the impression out of my mind. I felt this tremendous burden for Chile. Therefore, I ended up praying for Chile – the people, the nation, and the churches in Chile.
Then, several weeks later on February 27, 2010, I went on the internet to check up on world news and I discovered that an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude hit near the city of Concepcion, Chile. I had mixed emotions, as I read up on the chaos that was ensuing in Chile. My heart was breaking for the Chilean people as I saw the pictures of the devastation. But also, I felt sobered by the fact that God was preparing my heart several weeks before the incident to respond in prayer for Chile.
I could not deny that this was something God was doing. Usually in these kinds of tragedies, the Church of Jesus always rises up to help, as well as other humanitarian organizations. For some reason, I was compelled to do something, but I felt a bit helpless. Not only was I thousands of miles away in Indonesia, but I had no personal contacts in Chile.
In the midst of this, I felt God impressing on my heart to allow things to settle down. When all the immediate hoopla of meeting the needs of a tragedy recedes, there are many more on-going needs that require attention after people leave the area. I sensed that this is what God wanted us to do, therefore all I could do was to pray.
Then I quickly contacted a good pastor friend who has connections all throughout Latin America and asked if he knew of any pastors or good churches in Chile. After a recommendation, I started to correspond with the Chilean pastor and talked about doing a vision trip in September or October.
For most of the summer, Chile was on the back burner until August 5, 2010, when news broke out about a collapsed mine with 33 miners trapped 1.5 miles down in the earth inside a small shelter. This sparked more concerns and prayers for Chile.
Now finally, with the vision trip set to take place in a couple of weeks and a missions trip at the end of December, the interest in the outcome of the rescue efforts of the 33 miners is at a greater level.
I came home yesterday late night after some meetings and saw the live streaming of the 1st three miners being rescued. It was very emotional. It is incredible to think that they were trapped in the shelter for over 2 months.
I couldn’t help but to think about the analogy of the joy and thankfulness a person experiences when they are set free from darkness and their sins because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. I also noted the joy and tears that family members and loved ones expressed as they saw and embraced the miner coming out of the rescue cage. Truly, all of heaven will rejoice as people experience freedom in Christ.
This is the message of the Gospel that we, as a church will passionately share as we go and partner with the church in Chile. It is truly a kairos moment, which we are humbled and grateful for to our Redeemer and Ultimate Rescuer.
Note: If you look at the back of the miner’s shirt from the picture above, you will see that it is from Psalm 95:4 and he added the last phrase, “To Him is all the honor and glory”