The Caverns of the Human Heart

An amazing story unfolded in the last two weeks. It captured the attention of the world and brought heroes from around the globe to the feet of the Chiang Rai mountains in Thailand. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know we’re talking about the incredible rescue of Thai boys from the caves.  

The story began with a birthday.  Peerapat Sompiangjai had finished football practice (we call it soccer), but before he and his fteammates headed home to his birthday party, they wanted to spend an hour so exploring their favorite cave, Tham Luang.

That hour or so turned into a two week ordeal.

It had been raining for days prior to Peerapat’s birthday. They were caught by surprise as their familiar cave rapidly began flooding. Cut off from their normal route, they went a different way. That new route brought them deeper into the cave system. They quickly found themselves trapped in an area with air, but with no way out.

Their parents were concerned when were late to the party.  They read through the posts that the boys had placed on social media.  It led the parents to the mouth of the caves (and you thought Facebook was evil) where they discovered the boys’ bikes.

The search and rescue mission was on.

Thailand mobilized it’s Navy Seal unit, the British sent their finest military’s finest divers, and Americans arrived with our best logistics team. Together these brave souls worked tirelessly to find the boys.  Meanwhile, the local townspeople provided food, water, and even cleaned the rescue team’s laundry.

This was an international operation on multiple levels.  According to the New York Times, “10,000 people participated, including 2,000 soldiers, 200 divers, and representatives from 100 government agencies.” Major Charles Hodges of the United States Air Force was in awe of the sacrifice of those involved, “I don’t know of any other rescue that put the rescuer and the rescuee in so much danger over a prolonged period of time, unless it is something along the lines of firefighters going into the World Trade Center knowing that the building is on fire and is going to collapse.”

The world outside the cave was holding vigils and prayers. Inside the cave, the assistant coach, who accompanied the boys on the venture, shared with them prayer techniques he learned as a monk. Those techniques helped to calm their nerves and conserve their air. For over a week the boys had survived on the rain water that was coming down the mountain and through the cave walls.  

Then on day ten, two British divers surfaced into an air pocket, like they had done so many times over the past week. But this time they could smell the presence of the lost band of boys (no comments about gender and hygiene please). The boys were discovered.

The search was over and the rescue was on.  

As you have already heard, the boys and their coach were all rescued.  However, here was one casualty: 38 year-old Saman Gunan, a retired Thai Navy Seal who volunteered to help, died during one of the dives.  He died as he lived, a hero.

We highly suggest you read the story of the whole operation. It is an uplifting story of whole an international community came to together to risk their lives to save others.

We hope you are as inspired by it as we are.

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