Bienvenidos a la Mision Chile Santiago Norte! We love the Savior, and are blessed to be part of this great work, to share His gospel, and invite others to come unto Him. We are grateful to have this incredible opportunity to associate with such fine young men and women and other couples who are serving in this wonderful part of the vineyard. We decided to share this mission through a blog, with any who would like to know more.... All of the lessons, talks, training, conferences, and meetings are obviously done totally in Spanish, but for the sake of this writer, the notes are here in English, for speed in typing, and therefore, mixed with a bit of both worlds. We hope all of our missionaries, families, and loved ones can enjoy this blog, in spite of the writing, grammar, language, errors, etc. This will be a miraculous journey, and we invite you to share and enjoy it with us.

Lovingly, con cariño,
Presidente Michael May
Hermana Carol May

Friday, October 22, 2010

El Rescate/ The Rescue...includes faith to move mountains

BLOG ENTRY: “Faith to Move Mountains”
Saturday, October 16, 2010
This past week, Chile experienced yet another event to the see the hand of God perform miracles right within its borders. What a blessing to be here in this spectacular country, and observe how merciful God is to all of His children, as we watched with great interest in what took place here in a secluded and previously quite unknown pueblo of Copiapo’, in northern Chile. There are many types of disasters or catastrophes world wide, including Chile’s previous 8.8 earthquake back on Feb 27 of this same year, when news from here again rocked the world. However, the question this time is not how you drill into the seafloor and connect with a blown-out oil well like was needed in the U.S.A., but how do you drill a half-mile-long tunnel into very hard rock, and then use that hole to extract trapped men? The whole story changes to become one more with human interest when there are lives at stake.

Here the local television broadcasts all labeled the specific event that was requiring the success during the challenging feat of rescuing 33 trapped miners as ‘El Rescate” (The Rescue). We found that quite interesting, since in our notes the main theme of our dear prophet’s comments for last year was labeled, The Rescue. It is with these thoughts we would like to share some of our observations and comparisons we discovered and discussed during this process.
To share a bit of background and insight from a local here, we found many details flung at us, left and right, from the news, media, neighbors, members, missionaries, etc, all sharing their tidbits and opinions about the whole ordeal. This is a journal entry, and not a published article, so take the details and thoughts as only personal insights, not doctrine!

The accident happened on Aug. 5, where the 33 miners suddenly found themselves trapped in a copper and gold mine, that unfortunately, (and this would be considered illegal in the USA,) had no second, back up exit. They found their way to the small, emergency shelter down below, but the problem was, they had no communication with those up above, to tell them they were still alive. This was their lot for 17 days! Meanwhile, they survived off 2 days worth of rations of food, water and oxygen that was there, 700 meters below/ or 2,300 feet; practically ½ mile below the earth’s surface. This took organizational skills, leadership, patience, faith, prayer, and much more.

The newly sworn in Harvard trained businessman, millionaire President, Sebastian Pinera had the wisdom to insist they begin the work to search for the apparently trapped men. As with any mining disasters, locating these men entombed in the mine in Copiapo posed the first challenge for rescuers.They were searching in certain areas, drilling where they might imagine they could be. After another cave-in blocked a ventilation shaft, the only option rescue workers had for reaching the missing mining team was to drill six-inch (15-centimeter) exploratory holes deep into the ground. Attempts to reach an underground shelter where the miners might have sought refuge failed seven times – blamed on the mining company's poor maps – but the eighth try finally reached the sanctuary at a depth of 2,257 feet. This mountain on top of these men consisted of about 700,000 pounds of rock overhead, enough to give anyone a newly acquired case of claustrophobia!

“Drilling straight down over hundreds of feet can be tricky business, according to Jeffery Kravitz, a U.S. Mine Health and Safety Administration (MHSA) technical expert. After all, drilling just a single degree off of a straight line (perpendicular to the surface) to a target can leave one more than 40 feet off-base.”

After 17 days, there literally became a ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ as workers sent down another probe that came back up with a tattered paper attached which was written in scribbled red pencil, “Estamos bien en el refugio, los 33.” (All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.) When the elation died down, and the reality set in, it was obvious it would take quite monumental efforts to find a way to get the men out of the mine. Chilean rescuers on Monday started sending down five-foot- (1.5-meter-) long tubes called palomas, or "doves", like carrier pigeons. A large drilling machine, donated by Codelco copper company in Chile, soon began drilling the 26-inch hole through which the trapped miners would be hauled back to the surface. This rig would be a rotary-type drill, meaning its drill rotates with several diamond-tipped, teeth-like "bits" that chew up the rock underneath. The mine's veins of gold and copper ran through quartzite with a high level of abrasive silica, rock so tough that it took all their expertise to keep the drill's hammers from curving off in unwanted directions. At one point, the drill struck a metal support beam in the poorly mapped mine, shattering its hammers. Fresh equipment had to be flown in from the United States and progress was delayed for days as powerful magnets were lowered to pull out the pieces.

On day 26, a team from the US space agency, NASA arrived at the mine to offer their advice on keeping the miners healthy. Previously the miners had been surviving on water, cans of tuna, and then after they were discovered, began to receive only glucose tablets and high-protein milk. Finally they were able to have Meatballs, chicken and rice piped through a tube, which changed their attitudes. They were told that it might be 4 months to get the escape tunnel drilled through the massive rock mountain, but now those above had goals and made plans. The workers above began to monitor each individual miner and follow his health and well-being to ensure the safety for the men. They began to have communication with their families who were all waiting anxiously, in the impromptu tent city dubbed affectionately, “Campamento Esperanza—Camp Hope.” After a total of 69 days underground, they had a new perspective on their future, as the miners really had hope to be rescued.
As we began to see the results of the rescue come to pass, we observed different actions, comments, comparisons that reminded us of the Savior and His way of rescuing us in this life. We might be listing these ideas in future blog entries, but
we continue to see sybolism in this rescue and how the Savior rescues each one of us
in our lives here on earth.

This whole miner experience was compared to the spectacular world wide phenomenon that occurred 41 yrs ago, on 21 July 1969, when mankind left the safety of the earth and took their first step to walk on the moon. Now here we were trying to send people from the safety of the world as we know it, to enter deep into the earth and help bring people from the dark, into the light.
What we learned from Gordon B. Hinckley is true, more so now than ever before, (“The Faith to Move Mountains,” Liahona, Nov 2006, 82–85,) “Increased faith is what we most need. Without it, the work would stagnate. With it, no one can stop its progress.” We know that faith can move mountains!

In this recent Oct 2010 session of General Conference, Bishop Edgely said, “When the disciples asked Jesus why the could not cast a devil out as they had just witnessed the Savior do, Jesus answered, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove. (Matthew 17:20) I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed.”

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