Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Phone: +1 703 790 8980
Fax: +1 703 893 5160

October 13, 2010

For Immediate Release
Baptists involved in Chile rescue mission

Washington (BWA)-- Baptists in Chile have been involved in the quest to rescue the 33 workers who were trapped inside a mine for more than two months in the South American country.

The Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Chile (UBACH) dispatched one of its pastors, Marcelo Leiva, to the site where he has, for the past several weeks, had ongoing telephone conversations and prayer sessions with the trapped mineworkers.

"He has been able to talk to them by phone, praying with them and reading the Bible," said Raquel Contreras, president of UBACH and president of the Baptist World Alliance Women's Department. Leiva has been staying in a tent at the rescue mission site, and has also spent time with family members of the trapped mineworkers. "He stays there overnight, sleeping in tents, sharing the gospel, and extending the love of God to the families," Contreras told the BWA.

Contreras claimed that one of the miners "became a Christian," and "wrote his wife saying that she should talk to the pastor because he has become a new man and he wanted his wife to become 'new' too." 

"Pastor Marcelo talked to her and guided her to know Jesus," the BWA women's leader reported.

One of the engineers involved in the drilling process is a Baptist church member in Chile. Baptists sent MP3 players into the mine with Christian songs, hymns and sermons, as well as Spanish language Bibles.

The Social Network of the Chilean Baptist Union, formed by UBACH and which has been involved in the reconstruction efforts following the massive earthquake that affected Chile on February 27, has been coordinating the outreach to the miners and their families.

Thirty three mineworkers got trapped inside the San José copper-gold mine in Copiapó, in Northern Chile, on August 5. It is expected that the men will be rescued over several days this week if everything goes according to plan.  The protracted extraction process is the result of more than two months of intensive rescue plans and preparations.