Friday Night Live Reflections : Chilean Miner speaks to hundreds at SAMS Gathering

One of the Chilean miners rescued after a record 69 days trapped underground addressed hundreds of people at a mission conference in Craigavon on Friday. Jose Henriquez, along with his wife Blanca, were among the guest speakers at the “Friday Night Live” mission event organised by the South American Mission Society (SAMS) Ireland. SAMS Ireland has seen growth in recent years with around 700 people packing the Craigavon Civic Centre to hear reports of the work of the Anglican Church in Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Spain.

Jose Henriquez became known as the “Pastor” among the 33 miners because he held fast to his faith in Jesus and led the group in daily prayer and Bible reading. Speaking to the crowd in the Civic Centre through a translator, he explained how his faith helped him survive and revealed previously unknown details such as number of the miners committed their lives to Christ during the crisis. Jose’s wife Blanca, whose reunion with her husband as he emerged from the rescue capsule was seen by up to a billion people live on television, explained how her faith helped her during the ordeal.

The Rev. Alf Cooper, a SAMS prayer partner and the chaplain to the president of Chile, was translating for Jose and Blanca. Alf led the nation’s prayers during the miner crisis and was on the scene during the rescue. He is passionate about mission and is well known for his evangelism and is the leader of a rapidly growing church in Chile. Speaking at the Friday Night Live event he said, “The world witnessed a miracle when Jose was pulled from the depths of the earth. Psalm 130:1 says, “Out of the depths I cry to you Lord”, each of us can experience the same miracle when we cry out to Jesus for salvation.”

Earlier in the evening the Mayor of Craigavon Mr Stephen Moutray MLA, hosted a reception for the Chileans and key people from the SAMS Ireland family. Commenting on the event the Mayor said, “I’ve known of the excellent work of SAMS Ireland for many years. The quality of their staff and mission partners is second to none.  We’re delighted that Jose, Blanca and Alf chose Craigavon for their first visit to Northern Ireland.  There is no doubt that the Chilean Miner has left a deep impression on all of us.”

Other guest speakers at “Friday Night Live” included Gwen Carlisle and Mags Southern, teachers who have worked for over 30 years in St Andrew’s College in Asunción, an Anglican school in Paraguay.  They thanked SAMS Ireland for the quality of the teachers from Ireland who have served there as missionary teachers over the years. Several SAMS Ireland Latin American nationals working in local churches here reported on the growing trend of South American Christians pioneering mission in Ireland.

Winter Fires

Take a moment and remind yourself of one of the greatest things about the winter months – a real fire! This is challenging if you don’t have a real fire, so find one and then switch off all the so-called advancements of modern technology and take a few moments to just stare at the fire and be still.

Constantly we are influenced by advertisers and the media to seek ‘more,’ yet deep down we know that the ‘more’ they try to sell us doesn’t actually meet our deeper needs. At this point, if we are courageous, we have a moment of opportunity to ask searching questions. Unconsciously we can buy into a system which has been hyped up by a fast-moving, instant-reward culture, so that we are addicted to a need for excitement.

Without ‘winter fire’ moments our lives can take on a recurring pattern alternating between boom and bust. The bubble bursts and we seek the next hit as we deny our inner turmoil. Through rest the human soul is refreshed, creativity re-emerges, relationships are strengthened and, most of all, we find space to reflect on how we are living and on our relationship with our Creator and our neighbour! We need to stop and find rest. Only that way will we find the inspiration, creative energy and vision to engage authentically with God’s world.

Paul & Sarah Update from Peru

Paul & Sarah Update from Peru

For Paul and Sarah Tester in Peru things have been particularly hectic in the run up to Christmas with many an activity with the children and young people. As always, we try to show why we celebrate Christmas and make Jesus the centre of what we do.

For those who like to see more photos we have some more links for you to follow.

The Diocesan Youth Leader’s Retreat:

Sarah in the Lima 10k run:

Children’s Christmas Parties:

Youth Christmas specials:

May we also take this chance to wish you a very Happy Christmas. We hope it is a special time for you all. We’ll look forward to continuing in touch in 2011.

With love from us both,

Paul and Sarah

Discover Programme

Discover is designed to help groups think about and talk about mission from a biblical perspective. The programme comprises seven sessions, each focusing on a key part of the biblical story of mission. The pack includes a DVD, with seven short video introductions, a book providing background reading material, a discussion guide for each session and a website (, featuring a wealth of support material.

Blog Updates

Blog updates from:

Nick & Catherine Drayson in Juarez, Northern Argentina:

Pat Blanchard in Lima, Peru:

Linn Tedman in Asunción, Paraguay: and

Ian & Polly Montgomery in Lima, Peru on a recent visit to see Fr. Alejandro Mesco in Cabanaconde, Arequipa

Martin & Carla Flores in La Paz, Bolivia (this blog is in Spanish):

The Anglican Diocese of Bolivia also released the following video earlier this year which may be of interest:

A miracle in Chile

An interview between Peter Allen and Rev. Alfredo Cooper, chaplain to the President of Chile. Recorded on BBC Radio 5 Live during the successful rescue of the miners. Rev. Cooper speaks of the way God has been at work, and gives a solid answer to Allen’s challenge about how God could have allowed it to happen in the first place. Rev. Cooper also speaks of the perspective of the miners, who felt like there was a 34th person down there – Jesus.

Mission isn’t an exclusive calling for the few, it’s for everyone!

Mission isn’t an exclusive calling for the few, it’s for everyone.  Mission is at the heart of Christian discipleship.  It involves and demands all of us as we are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Something significant emerges when we grasp the fact that mission must be modelled through servanthood.  Remember, authentic mission depends on the miracle of God’s participation.

Friday Night Live

Chilean miner Jose Henrique is one of the special guests at the SAMS Friday Night Live gathering on 4 February 7.30pm in Craigavon Civic Centre.

When disaster struck the 33 Chilean miners back in August, one of them, Jose Henriquez, held fast to his faith. Holding on to hope whilst being trapped underground for over two months was a true test of trust. A billion people watched the miners being rescued, but only a few will get to hear Jose tell his story personally. Alf Cooper who is the chaplain to the President of Chile led the nation’s prayers during the Chile miner crisis and was on the scene during their dramatic rescue. A gifted speaker and teacher, Alf will be translating for Jose Henriquez.

The keynote speaker at Craigavon Civic Centre will be the Rev. Barry Forde, Chaplain to Queen’s University and the evening will be hosted by Bishop Ken Clarke.

Gwen Carlisle and Mags Southern, Principal and Vice-Principal respectively of St. Andrew’s College in Asuncion will be present along with Bishop Peter and Sally Bartlett from Paraguay. SAMS is also pleased this year to have Bishop Carlos Lopez from Spain. Other South Americans present will be Jax McCallum from Argentina, Oscar Leon, Gerardo and Suyai Gimpel from Chile.

Other special items in the programme include feedback from SAMS Ireland volunteers. Following the large attendance last year, there will be extra seating and an overflow area in the Civic Centre.

All welcome at 7.30pm in The Craigavon Civic Centre.

For travel directions visit for details.

Jose Henrique will also be visiting:

Willowfield Parish centre Belfast 5th February at 7.30 pm. (Ticket only)

St Saviours Dollingstown Sunday 6th February at 830am. (Breakfast)

Shankill Parish Church Lurgan 6th February at 10 30 am. (Open to all)

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