Chilean Miners, Families Baptized in Jordan River

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JORDAN RIVER -- Almost five months after their rescue from a dark abyss more than 2,000-feet underground, 24 Chilean miners were submerged again - this time in the Jordan River.

Miner Jose Henriquez said the experience was "powerful."

"It's one of the sacraments that we've received from my God," he said. "He is here. His Holy Spirit is touching the hearts. He's alive and is a powerful God. A God who fills the hearts with grace. The God we cried to there in the mine is here."

While in the mine, 22 of the miners accepted Jesus Christ. Henriquez says the baptisms are a public confession of that faith.

"It's a commitment. A public commitment, receiving Jesus Christ alone. All the glory be to Him. Something wonderful has taken place here," he declared.

It was a memory that would likely last a lifetime.

"I'm still very touched, a tremendous joy," rescued miner Jorge Oriana said. "It can't be compared with anything I've ever experienced in my 57 years. I'm still in a state of shock."

Richard Villaroel, the 28th miner to be rescued, brought his infant son to be baptized in the river. He says he also wore a special shirt.

"This is a very special day. That's why I wore this T-shirt that I wore when I came out of the mine," he explained.

The experience also touched Marta, a Chilean social worker who often travels with the miners.

"I fulfilled one of the greatest desires of my life by being baptized in the Jordan River," she said. "It was wonderful. I felt as though the love of God enveloped my heart."

Many said visiting the ancient river and Israel made the Bible come alive for them.

"If you come here to the Jordan River, don't forget to be baptized as it's a wonderful experience that one feels," Oriana said. "These are things of God. I had read about this in some of the Bible scriptures, but now I'm touched being here in person."

"I believe that Jesus came to save my life," Marta said. "He died on the cross for me. And being here is seeing that everything I read and saw in the Bible that I imagined -- it's all real. But to experience walking in the very places where my Savior did, it's truly marvelous."

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