More than two decades ago, Santiago Sanchez received what he believes is a divine mission from God: to dig a hole in his backyard until God tells him to stop. He decided to obey this “mission” and has now spent the last 20 years digging a winding tunnel on his property.
Sanchez is adamant about being the only one to dig the hole. He accepts help from no one and spends hours each day digging and shoveling out hundreds of pounds of earth. Although he doesn’t allow others to enter, he let a reporter in the hole in 2016, but things soon took a turn for the worst. Read Sanchez’ fascinating story here.
The Divine Call
In 1998, Santiago Sanchez says he received a divine mission: to spend the rest of his life digging a hole. Without stopping. According to Sanchez, it was “God” who asked him to fulfill this mission in what he has called a “spiritual revelation.”
Since beginning his mission, Sanchez has taken little rest in order to dig as much as possible. You will be amazed at the amount of land he has already dug through.
A Simple Life
Now in his early 70s, Sanchez is a very humble farmer. He and his family live in El Salvador, in a city called Berlin, located in the department of Usulután. Although the town has become one of the main attractions of the city, it still has fewer than 18,000 residents. One of whom is Sanchez.
Sanchez could not be more different than his neighbors. After all, who would spend the majority of their life digging a hole so large? That is unless they were sure there was a reason to do so.
Beginning His Divine Mission
The humble farmer had his life changed on November 5, 1998, when he attended a spiritual encampment. It was there that Sanchez says he received a great mission from God: to dig a hole. But this hole wasn’t your average hole. Sanchez believed God wanted him to dig a hole indefinitely.
So he went back to his home and began his divine work. Sanchez spent the next 20 years of his life putting in hard work day in and day out, without knowing the real purpose behind the mission.
No End Date In Sight
According to various accounts from Sanchez’ neighbors, the hole is narrow and very, very deep. The “work” of Sanchez is located on his land and is visited by tourists and those who are curious almost daily — although they are not allowed to go inside.
Sanchez still does not know the reason behind the divine request, but he states that he will only stop digging when God orders him to stop.
How He Stays Motivated
Now in 2019, Sanchez still does not know what will come of the hole in his yard, but he continues working non-stop. So just how does he maintain motivation? He says God has promised him a great reward at the end of his work.
While you may think all of this sounds crazy, it’s hard to not be at least a little curious about Sanchez. Is his divine mission real? What will he get for all his effort? Surely he deserves something divine, right?
Putting In the Work
Digging a hole every day for 20 years is undoubtedly hard work. So what does an average day for Sanchez look like? Every morning at about 3 a.m. he goes into the hole and spends the rest of the day digging. It’s not easy.
Besides dealing with the heat, Sanchez also has to deal with the dampness and darkness of the hole. Through the day, Sanchez walks to the end of the hole and gathers as much earth as he can to bring it to the entry. From there, he repeats this cycle for hours.
Day In and Day Out
Can you imagine rising so early and doing this every day for over 20 years? Sanchez has gradually started rising earlier and earlier as he digs more. This is because, as he digs more, it takes him more time to get the end of the tunnel and back with all of the debris.
When he finishes his daily “work,” he has removed hundreds of pounds of earth, dirt, rock, and other debris.
Only Sanchez Is Allowed to Dig
After digging every day for more than two decades, the hole has become a seemingly endless tunnel. The hole now goes so far that it almost feels impossible to get to the end. After all, there are hundreds of pounds of earth, rock, and debris taken from the hole every day.
According to Sanchez, only he can reach the end of the hole. This may be true as it was proven by a local television channel.
Only One Reporter Has Been In the Hole and He Couldn’t Make It To The End
A Univision TV reporter named Ernesto Rivas tried to get down to the end of the hole, but it wasn’t long before he felt light-headed and short of breath from a lack of oxygen and returned to the surface.
While trying to reach the end of the hole, the journalist encountered a significant amount of mud and makeshift stairs. The reporter’s struggles were documented by the channel. When asked if Sanchez faced similar struggles reaching the end of the hole, he gave a surprising answer.
It Was Too Difficult to Breathe
While in the hole, the reporter was followed by a cameraman. During the segment, you can really see just how narrow the hole is in certain places. Not only that but it’s basically pitch black once you get a few meters deep.
During his descent, the reporter and cameraman captured the difficulties they encountered along the way. Everything Sanchez has worked on is very improvised. The makeshift stairs and the equipment he has used make the descent even more complicated. And since the hole does not have a ventilation system, it can be challenging to breathe.
A Divine Gift Only For Sanchez
Sanchez doesn’t typically let others venture into the hole. In fact, he says that only he is allowed to go to the end because “he is the only digger in God’s tunnel and no one else is allowed to go there.”
Sanchez considers his mission a true gift, adding, “Only I can go down because God has given me the gift and gift to do this, no one else can.”
Sanchez Ignores the Critics
In an interview with a local television station, Sanchez said he has had many people criticize his work, laugh at him, and call him crazy. However, he is determined to see his mission to the end, even though he admits that he himself does not yet understand the purpose of the mission or why he is digging the hole.
To that, Sanchez says, “Nobody knows what God is going to demand of you.”
Is Sanchez the New Noah?
Sanchez often compares his work to Noah and the construction of the ark. In the Genesis flood narrative, Noah, his family, and the remaining animals on the earth are all spared by God. Sanchez believes that he is similar to Noah since he was also given a divine mission and is doing it all alone.
But is anyone able to help him carry out his great mission? Unfortunately, it looks like he’ll have to finish the tunnel alone.
A Lone Job
Sanchez says that many people have shown an interest in the hole, but no one to this day has been able to manage the low levels of oxygen in the hole’s depths. As only Sánchez has managed to reach the end, no one besides Sanchez knows the true size of the tunnel.
Considering he’s been digging for 20 years, we can imagine that the hole is incredibly deep. Sanchez regularly has people offer to help him dig, but he is insistent on being the only one.
No Deadline In Sight
When asked about the direction of his work, Sanchez says he will continue digging until God tells him what to do or until the end of his days. Although he is already over 70 years old, he does not think about slowing down.
He is focused on his divine mission and stays motivated because he was promised a gift when he finally completes the task. So how does Sanchez manage to work in the depths of the hole when others can barely make it until the end?
He Doesn’t Feel Short of Breath When He Is In the Tunnel
The entrance of the tunnel is located in a wooded area near Sanchez’ home. Every day he wakes up at dawn to start digging. Without using any high-tech equipment, Sanchez descends to the end to start his work. But what about the oxygen levels? The reporter couldn’t even make it to the end because he was feeling so light-headed.
When asked about the little oxygen beneath the earth, Sanchez looked surprised and said that for whatever reason he does not feel short of breath.
So Many Obstacles
It is estimated that to get to the end of the hole, Sanchez must descend for over an hour. The reporter who failed to reach the end of the hole walked for nearly 60 minutes before turning around because he felt ill.
In addition to the long descent, the quarters are dark and cramped – definitely not for those who are claustrophobic! The hole also has no ventilation system and no lighting. Now we ask ourselves, how can Sanchez do it alone?
What Is God’s Plan?
Some people think that Santiago Sanchez is crazy for risking his life to fulfill a “mission” without an apparent end. On the other hand, Sanchez says that everything has a beginning and an end. After 20 years, he keeps working.
While we do not know the actual size of the hole, nor when it will finally be completed, there is a greater mystery. What does God want by asking for such a big hole?
His Friends and Family Support Him
Although Sanchez’ mission is extremely tiring and dangerous, he has received nothing but support from his family and close friends. At no point has any of his loved ones question the “divine mission” or call him crazy.
Isabel Ventura, Sanchez’ wife, is one of his main supporters and had been since the beginning. “There are unbelieving people who say that he is crazy, but people do not know what God is proposing to him,” she says.
The Hole Is Now Miles Deep
It is believed that the tunnel is now more than three miles long. All this was done with totally improvised equipment and makeshift stairs. According to Sanchez, God gave him this gift of enduring depth. So to him, there is no cause for concern.
During interviews, at times he seems to be breathless. But he does not seem to care. All he wants is to finish his work and receive the much-desired reward of God.