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Mines are dangerous places

“We were 45 minutes walking into the mountain with torch lamps over muddy floors with high voltage cables at the sides of the tunnel when we reached ‘la jaula’ or ‘cage’ as the elevator is called in Bolivian mines. Our security equipment for descending into the mine had been confirmed days ahead of our visit, but on the day the news was that there were no helmets or boots available for us!

Years ago the ‘cage’ was able to transport 30 people but now it moves just 7 miners so as not to overload the old mechanism. Constant accidents forced the mine co-operative to take this decision; the plaque on the motor shows that it is 45 years old!

Two years ago the elevator’s operator got drunk when on the job and accelerated the machine until it hit the upper level with an almighty crash. There were 3 miners

inside; one just barely survived with heavy wounds, one of the dead was a Christian miner. After the accidents the co-operative decided to have two more people looking out for the elevator and the operator. These two monitors stand beside him almost all the time.

Certainly this decision will save lives in the future. Mario and Basilio were assigned to this task. They have to monitor the work of the elevator operator and also check for other industrial health and safety issues. No doubt this is progress in the mine operating such old machinery, such as broken air filters and water pumps that do not work anymore.

We asked if they would pray with us asking God for their protection and security. They accepted and we did it together. I had a feeling of peace there in the mine despite the darkness and the mineral smell of the air.

El Tio – the ‘ruler’ of the mine

The miners’ take on board local animistic beliefs. This includes devotion to ‘el Tio’, an underground divinity that the miners look to as a godfather of the minerals.

This time of prayer with M and B deep inside the mine was a more powerful testimony than any word spoken against their idols and traditions. Praying there together to the Creator of the heavens and earth was no doubt a striking moment because they believe that God is outside the mine and the ‘el Tio’ rules inside.

If you are reading this please take a moment to pray for M and B so that they may realise in their hearts who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who loves them even when they are deep inside the mountain.

Support needed for Pastor Eugenio Nina

Pastor Eugenio Nina, an International Miners’ Mission missionary and former miner, is the only minister who visits these miners as they work inside the mine. He also needs your prayers for his health, protection underground and provision for his wife and family.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Ruben Paco, IMM Bolivia Coordinator











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