Mormon missionary in Chile describes destruction, miracles

It took just three minutes to change Elder Mark Roberts' life forever.

He awoke suddenly on Feb. 27 in Chile to a rattling. The middle of the street began to sway like water, and concrete street posts wobbled back and forth.

Roberts and his companion, who are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were there when an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Maule region of Chile, killing scores and leaving thousands injured and displaced from their homes.

Walking toward the center of town, destruction faced the missionaries everywhere. Furniture landed on a nearby girl and cracked her head open.

Their mission leader, at whose home they ate twice a week, had become homeless within minutes.

"We didn't know what to do. Who do you help?" Roberts, who is from Mesa, Ariz., said in a phone interview with the LDS Church Public Affairs office. "We didn't find anyone that was really hurt until we got into the center."

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