Two valley families whose sons are in Chile as Mormon missionaries know they survived Saturday's magnitude-8.8 earthquake, which has killed more than 800 people.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says all of its missionaries in the South American country are safe and accounted for, but not all of them have been able to call home because of the quake's devastation.
"I have full confidence that he's fine," Modesto resident George Rawe said Tuesday about his 20-year-old son, Colton. "He's an Eagle Scout. He's well-prepared. But we just want to hear his voice."
Manteca residents Sandra and Mitchell Heinze are waiting to hear from their 19-year-old son, Danny, who started his mission in Chile in January.
Never miss a local story.
The two young men are among several area residents who were in Chile when the quake struck about 3:30 a.m. along the nation's central coast. Some towns along the coast were nearly wiped out after being slammed by a tsunami that followed the temblor.
Riverbank resident Shelley Philips has spoken to her 21-year-old son, Garrett Brandt, twice since the earthquake. Brandt is doing his missionary work in Cunco, several hours south and inland of the quake's epicenter.
"There was enough shaking to wake them up," Philips said. "My son ran out of the house. He said the ground looked like a wave. He said it was very unnerving."
Philips said the power was out in Cunco for about a day, but residents have food and water.
Rawe and Heinze are closer to the devastation. Both live in communities close to Concepción, Chile's biggest city near the quake's epicenter.
"He is where he needs to be," Sandra Heinze said about her son. "He'll have a chance to be of more help and use to the Chilean people. That's why he's on mission and has put his life on hold for two years."
Though the Heinzes have not talked to their son, they've gotten phone calls from a mother and son letting them know Danny is well.
The woman is an American in Chile who knows Danny Heinze and his missionary companion. The woman had her son in Washington state call the Heinzes and she called as well.
"And this is from a total stranger, letting us know our son is OK," Sandra Heinze said.
Modesto resident Bruce Beard's grandfather Rod and uncle Jon were in the Chilean city of Linares on the second floor of a hotel when the earthquake struck. They were about 100 miles from the epicenter.
"They said it was an unbelievable shaking," Bruce Beard said. "It was four minutes long, and it just didn't seem to let up. They were a little worried about the building coming down."
Rod Beard and his wife, Virginia, founded Beard's Quality Nut Co. in Modesto in 1965.
Rod and Jon Beard are in the capital of Santiago and expect to fly home this week. Bruce Beard said they saw isolated damage in the city.
It took about 10 hours before Rod Beard could call home Saturday.
"That was a little worrisome," Bruce Beard said about the waiting.
The presidents of the nine Mormon missions in Chile called church headquarters in Salt Lake City to report on their missionaries. Families then called headquarters to learn about their children.
"That was like having a brick removed from our shoulders," George Rawe said about finding out his son was safe Saturday.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2316.