Chilean Miners Respond to Invite, Visit Israel

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The rescue of the trapped Chilean miners captured the imagination and the hearts of people worldwide. Twenty-four of those miners and their families came to Israel for a visit after a special invitation.

After the 24-hour trip from Chile, the miners celebrated their arrival in the Holy Land.

"We consider it a blessing of God to be able to come here and thank the thousands of those who prayed for us and come to the place of God, to whom we prayed to when we were still in the mine and the place where the Son of God came to save His own people," said Jose Henriquez, one of the miners.

Israel's Ministry of Tourism invited the miners. They said the visit was not political, but personal.

"We wanted this visit to make our appreciation to their efforts and, of course, to give them the opportunity to have thanksgiving to their God in the very holy place for them in Jerusalem," said Stas Misezhnikov, Israeli tourism minster.

Miner Jorge Oriana explained what it was like to be trapped for 69 days underground and then find himself in Jerusalem.

"Impressive," Oriana said. "Just impressive. One of the days in the mine I just lost hope. But now I'm in Jerusalem and want to thank God and the Israeli authorities and thank everybody. And to spread the Word of God that I'm here after all this time, all the days in the mine and I'm very thankful and very impressed that I'm here."

The miners will first visit sites around Jerusalem including the Via Dolorosa and the Western Wall.

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