Chilean miner Jose Henriquez told a packed Civic Center in Craigavon, County Armagh, that the power of faith can overcome anything.
Henriquez, who was one of 33 miners who survived for 70 days 2,300 feet underground before being rescued, delivered this address to 650 people who packed out the venue.
Henriquez, who was nicknamed the “Pastor”, by his workmates underground, is credited with rallying the men in the dark 17 days before contact was made with the trapped men.
He told the South American Mission Society (SAMS) gathering that his miniature Bible was what kept him, and ultimately his men, going.
“The whole world knows what happened in that mine from the outside, but nobody knows what was happening on this inside,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I am going to talk about the power of faith and the importance of democracy.
“But there were also some miracles.”
Henriquez said the power of collective decision- making where everyone had an equal voice was crucial to the group’s survival.
“We had to make decisions; about food and water, what to do next, how to organize spaces to sleep and so we voted on everything. A vote of 50% plus one was needed for every decision.”
The Chilean had nothing but good things to say about Northern Ireland and said that the teaching of God can heal all divisions.
“Whatever your belief, God is understanding. He accepts all people and does not marginalize.”
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