Chilean engineer Igor Bravo is the owner of the geo-technical monitoring company that helped with the rescue effort. While taking part in the operation, Mr Bravo became concerned about the spiritual needs of the trapped miners as well as their physical needs. As reported by the Baptist Press:
"I had to help in some Christian way," Bravo said. "If there is an opportunity to share the Gospel -- even if we're extremely occupied -- and to contribute to the Christian cause and evangelism, it's something that's in [my] blood."We join with LWF in praying that God will continue to use those messages to provide ministry, encouragement and salvation to the miners and their families
A member of First Baptist Church of Santiago, Bravo realized that though the miners' physical needs were being met, their spiritual needs had been overlooked. He called his pastor, Luis Cortéz, for help.
Cortéz contacted Radio Harmonia, a Christian broadcasting station in Santiago, which was able to provide MP3 files of Pastor Adrian Rogers' sermons and Bible studies in Spanish along with Christian music. Rogers, the late pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, TN, was a former Southern Baptist Convention president, author and TV-radio speaker.
While Cortéz made contacts in Santiago, Bravo searched Copiapó, the nearest town to the mine, for other spiritual materials. He found 33 New Testaments and two entire Bibles that met the size restrictions for what could be sent down the chamber. On Sept. 17 he sent the materials to the miners via the "paloma," a device used to transport objects between the trapped miners and the surface ("Paloma" means "pigeon" or "dove" in Spanish).
Three of the 33 trapped miners were evangelical Christians when the mine collapsed. Since that time, two more of them have made professions of faith.
One of the original believers, José Henríquez, has been leading Bible studies for the miners each evening. "It [Bible study] started out 5, 10, now 20 participants," Bravo said. "[The people on the surface] have José Henríquez identified as the spiritual leader; they call him 'The Pastor.'" Bravo wrote Henríquez's name in one of the Bibles and sent it specifically to him but left the other blank. Henríquez says he intends to give the second to the Bible study's best student.
As Bravo ministered to the miners, he knew their families waiting at Camp Esperanza (Hope) needed spiritual encouragement as well. "A lot of people don't know the Lord," Bravo said. "That's when the second need surfaced."
Bravo called on the Chilean Baptist Union for help, and soon pastor Marcelo Leiva of Vallenar Baptist Church in Vallenar, Chile, was on-site comforting the miners' families. "Pastor Marcelo has been fundamental in meeting that need," Bravo said.
Amid ensuring that both the miners and their families have the spiritual support they need, Bravo continues to play a vital role in the rescue efforts. His company determined the size of the rock blocking the mine following the collapse and is currently monitoring the status of the rescue shaft. "I was very involved in the technical aspects and then later became involved in the spiritual," Bravo said. "It's been a great blessing."