Chilean miner to visit the town

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ONE of the rescued Chilean miners is to visit Lurgan next month.

Jose Henriquez, who acted as pastor to the trapped miners, will be taking part in a series of events from February 4 to 6 organised by South American Mission Society (SAMS).

Jose will be accompanied on his visit by his wife Blanca and SAMS Ireland partner Alf Cooper.

Lurgan man Denis Johnston, who is general secretary of SAMS, has been a good friend of Alf Cooper for many years.

Alf, chaplain to the President of Chile, led Chile’s prayer during the two-month-long miner crisis and was on the scene during the dramatic rescue.

When disaster struck the 33 Chilean miners last August Jose Henriquez held fast to his faith. Alf will be translating for Jose as he tells his moving story at a number of local events.

Denis commented: “I spoke to Alf and he said he would come over with Jose and his wife as part of their Irish tour.

“They were meant to be here a day earlier but they’d been asked to the national prayer breakfast for President Obama in Washington.”

Denis added: “Jose was miner 24 but he was known as the pastor. He was one of the ones who encouraged them while they were down there.

“It is going to be amazing to hear the story first hand.”

Alf famously stated: “Many of the miners went down as atheists, unbelievers or semi-believers and they have come up to a man testifying that there 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.”

As part of Alf and Jose’s visit there will be a reception with the Mayor on Friday, February 4 at 5pm.

That evening at 7.30pm the special guests will be at SAMS annual celebration event known as Friday Night Live in Craigavon Civic Centre.

Jose and Alf have been invited for breakfast at St Saviour’s Church in Dollingstown at 8.30am on Sunday, February 6.

Their final duty will be to speak at the 10.30am service at Shankill Parish Church.