FRANKLIN, Tenn. (BP)–Baptist pastor Rick White had more than a passing interest in the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days.
White’s father was a longtime red ore miner in Jefferson County, Ala.
Thus, White, pastor of The People’s Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Franklin, Tenn., was “riveted” to the TV for the dramatic rescue.
As he watched, White would “tweet” messages via the Twitter social networking site.
On Oct. 12, before the first miner was rescued, White tweeted, “My dad worked underground as a miner for 33 years. My uncle died in a cave-in. Watching this rescue brings back lots of memories. Praying.”
After the first miner was rescued, White tweeted, “Thank you God for the first one. Now please bring them all to safety….”
He later tweeted, “In the middle of nowhere the world is watching a miracle before our very eyes. May God give grace and mercy to all.”
In an interview with Tennessee Baptists’ newsjournal, the Baptist and Reflector, White said he found it interesting that a medic had to go down before the miners were brought up.
That’s a perfect example of the Gospel, White observed: “Christ had to come down so we can go up to God.”
White said he felt some deep emotions watching the rescue as he remembered stories his dad (now deceased) would tell him of mining accidents and rescues.
His dad was in some minor cave-ins but was able to escape with outside help, White said, recalling there was “always that anxiety” knowing his dad was working underground.
White can even recall going to the mines when there was an accident (none involving his dad) and watching families gather awaiting word on their loved ones.
While watching the rescue of the Chilean miners, White was pleased to see the “sustaining spirit that faith brought to these men,” noting that almost every man who was rescued cited how God had sustained them through the ordeal.
In his final tweet that night, White wrote, “The best 24 hours of TV in a long, long time. God bless the miners of Chile and all who had a part in their rescue. Thank you Lord.”
Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.