Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modeste church photos

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hospitals in Abidjan

During one of our days, the first week in Cote d'Ivoire, Mike, Ashley, and I were given the opportunity to tour one of the public hospitals in Abidjan. Being in the medical profession I found it both encouraging and a bit sad at the same time.

During our interaction with several of the doctors we were able to see both passion for improving the health of Cote d'Ivoire and also the amazing needs that this country has. When a person shows up at the hospital with a condition, they are given a list of things that they need to go buy before they can be treated.

Coming from America where health care, especially emergency life saving health care, is given no matter what condition your finances are in, made the idea of prepaying/buying your supplies strange. This may be compounded when a patient shows up without family or is unconscious and therefore cant buy supplies. Trying to put this together in my head is a bit hard as health care as i have experienced is a quite different.

One thing is that I am now more thankful for what God has blessed me with, and secondly, given me a bigger heart for working outside of the United States when I graduate from college.


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Friday, June 20, 2008

Kira with orphan girls

Kira singing with the girls

Singing was one of the best methods we used to teach English to the girls. They loved all the sons, from Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes to Jesus Loves Me. I'm just day dreaming what it will be like next time I drive out to visit the children at the orphanage. I hope they don't knock me over with hugs!


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gavin preaching at Modeste

Gavin Johnson and Mike Farho

Gavin did a great job preaching for the folks at the Modeste C&MA Bambara Church. It was a fun service for all of us, with lots of fantastic music and even gifts for each team member. The team is working at raising funds for this Bambara Church. It is exciting to see a church of meager means reaching out and building bridges of love to their Muslim neighbors. The primary ministry they've started is a tiny elementary school.


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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Team at Grand Bassam restaurant

From left: Stephen, Dina, Kira, Sarah, David, Joshua, Ashley, Gavin, John, Christine.

Everyone is playing cards while we wait for our food. This was our last supper in Grand Bassam. We ate at The Quai restaurant. The food and desserts were great. The owner of our hotel arrived and treated us to our soft drinks. Normally, we only drank bottled water. It was hard for some not to get their Diet Cokes for two weeks. We had to suffer a little bit any way.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

John pool surfing

From left: John Farho surfing, Gavin Johnson after launching the boogie board.

John, Gavin and David enjoyed a new sport at the Hotel Assoyam in Grand Bassam. they took running jumps onto a moving boogie board. David Bebee posted a video on Facebook. For now, it is only available to Facebook members. Come back again, I'll see if I can get a public link from David.


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Friday, June 13, 2008

Blue boy bogeyman

Painting on the cafeteria wall at the girls' orphanage in Grand Bassam. We asked about the mysterious blue boy. The girls told me he's the boy who sleeps in the teacher's office. I guess he's their version of the bogeyman.


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big angry crocodile

Crocodiles don't like it when you poke them in the ribs.

We had a lot of fun looking at the crocodiles. As you can see in this video, a crocodile is fast. When he snaps at the wood stick, he is just a flash of fearsome muscle. It really gets your adrenalin pumping. The guide points out that a crocodile uses his tail as a weapon. Can you make out the source of any of the screams.


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Kira tug-o-war

Kira is playing tug-o-war without a rope. They were having a lot of fun and having a good workout too.

It makes me wonder how the girls are doing today, two weeks after the team has gone home. Are they bored, lonely, having great dreams about the team or still having a lot of fun with each other? Probably a combination of all of the above. Most Ivorian orphanages only function during the school year. Nearly everyone has aunts or uncles that can take care of them, but attending school could be impossible. So the children only live at the orphanage during school months. When school is over, they return to live with family.


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Happy Ivorian kids

Christine took this joyful photo of kids playing after church at the Abobo Abidjan Baoule and Bambara Church.


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David Bebee masking seminary windows

David Bebee is working hard

We went through about 20 rolls of masking tape. It really made the painting go fast. The students who were painting followed with wide and narrow rollers. Others were trimming with brushes.


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cookies at orphanage

English class

It is very rare for the girls at the orphanage to get to eat cookies. Two of the girls mentioned that to me at the beginning of our week of ministry there. The last day of our ministry there, we purchased three cases of cookies. Each individually wrapped package contained six cookies. It cost about $17.00 to buy enough cookies for all 150 children and staff.


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Building benches at Modeste

David Bebee and John Farho

We just noticed that we don't have any photos here at the blog about the building of the 28 benches. Our goal was 30, but we ran out of wood. One of our boards split down the middle since we bought it. The guys did a great job. The benches came out beautiful.


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Monday, June 9, 2008

Lunch at orphanage

The team and Joshua at the lunch table

The talented cooks made us AFC, African Fried Chicken with rice and attieke, a fermented product made from grated manioc root. It looks similar to couscous.


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Friday, June 6, 2008

Kira's photos

Kira posted a lot of fun photos for us to enjoy. The links below will take you to her photo albums at She did a great job organizing them by category. Hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

Africa un 39 photos of our flights, Bateau Bus, Boulay Island beach, and the Abobo Abidjan CMA Church
Location: Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa deux 59 photos from the Alliance West African Theological Seminary
Location: Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa trois 38 photos of days at the girls orphanage
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire

Africa quatre 42 photos at the Modeste Village/Assoyam Hotel
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa cinq 30 photos of last day at the orphanage
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire

Africa six 22 photos at the crocodile farm!
Location: Assini, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

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Team photo at Modeste CMA Church

The team is singing a song in Bambara for the congregation. They also sang a song in English.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Finished Modeste Church Pulpit and Walls

John and I went to Modeste today with Pastor Daniel to finish the work there. We also needed to pick up my generator and Daniel's carpenter tools. John and Pastor Daniel worked on the pulpit, while Dramane and I repaired all the rotten parts of the walls. Daniel was grateful for the speed square that Gavin left for him. We worked hard, hot, and non-stop to our late lunch at about 1:30 PM. Then we washed up and ate lunch, rice and cabbage sauce with hot peppers. It was yummy!

Daniel and John are nailing the first side piece to the pulpit.

The finished product. There still may be some varnish or paint work.
Left to right: Pastor Daniel, Dramane, John and Mike Farho
Don't believe the clock on the wall. It was actually 1:30 PM

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Favorite photos of Gavin

Just posted 12 favorite photos of Gavin at Facebook.

May 2008 - 808 college mission team ministry from Christ Community Church

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Team is back in Omaha

Most of the team is back home in Omaha. We're praying that they make it to church today!

John is still home in Abidjan, until June 9th. Dina, Ashley and Christine are taking some time to visit Europe!

Christine and Dina arrive on Monday, June 02, 2008 on flight DL4604 at Omaha Eppley Airfield at 04:18 PM.

Ashley arrives on Monday, June 09, 2008 on flight DL4214 at Omaha Eppley Airfield at 09:26 PM.

John still needs his itinerary from the travel agent, but he leave here on Monday, June 09, 2008 and arrives in Omaha on Tuesday, June 10th.

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

50 Questions to ask mission team members

You don't have to ask them all these questions at once, but these are interesting questions. Pick the questions you like most and ask them from time to time. Short-term mission team members will enjoy answering these questions for the rest of their lives. So you can use them with friends and people you meet who have traveled to new and different places.

1. What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
2. What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
3. What did that hard experience teach you?
4. What things surprised you the most?
5. Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
6. If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
7. Do you have any regrets?
8. What was the food like?
9. Where did you sleep?
10. Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
11. Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
12. Did you get a chance to share your faith?
13. Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
14. Do you see Jesus any differently now?
15. Did you see anything gross?
16. Did you get sick?
17. What was the scariest thing you experienced?
18. What was the weirdest thing you ate?
19. What was the church you worked with like?
20. How was their form of worship different from ours?
21. Did you get a chance to meet anyone's practical needs?
22. Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
23. What was the funniest thing you experienced?
24. How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
25. What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
26. What were your worship times with your team like?
27. Did you miss me?
28. Did you pack enough stuff?
29. Did you really miss me?
30. What was the weather like?
31. Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
32. Would you ever want to go back?
33. Do you think you would consider being a full-time international worker?
34. What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
35. Do you think you'll go on a short term mission trip again?
36. What's going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
37. Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren't on the trip?
38. Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
39. Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you'll never forget?
40. Are you tired?
41. Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
42. What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
43. Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
44. Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
45. Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
46. Did you give anything away?
47. Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
48. Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
49. What's the number one thing you are thankful for?
50. Did you catch yourself praising God for stuff? Like what?


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Friday, May 30, 2008

Goodbye Team!

All but John are at the Abidjan airport for their departure to France and USA. We waited until all their bags were checked and they were off to the boarding area to leave the airport. They had problems again with getting their seats. By the grace of God they got through eventually. The plane should take off for Paris in about 10 minutes. Their arrival is about 6 AM Paris time. Those who continue on to USA Saturday will be on flight DL0043. It will depart around 11:45 AM for Cincinnati, OH. Then on to Omaha on flight DL5157 for arrival at about 6 PM. The team would be thrilled to have you there at Eppley Airfield to meet them.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Joshua's crocodile

Joshua and a forest crocodile.


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Crocodile farm and beach

We'll go to Assignee to have lunch and visit the crocodile farm. They have snakes and lots of crocodiles. We'll even be able to pet some of them! It is a favorite tourist spot for visitors to Cote d'Ivoire. I hope the rain stays away long enough to take a short boat ride across the lagoon and see the beach. It is the most beautiful beach we've seen anywhere in the world. White sand and fun body surfing waves.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lunch at the Orphanage

Today we'll eat chicken, rice and atieke with the girls at the orphanage. They are so loving and love us all so much. They aren't used to having guests like us come to spend a week with them. Some are doing super in English. A number of the girls will go on to junior high school next year. One of the house moms asked me if we could show some videos about AIDS prevention for these older girls. Unfortunately, we don't have any videos like that, but we told them who to contact.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My African Birthday

Let me start out by just saying that my 20th birthday has most likely been one of the best (if not THE best) birthday I have ever had!

Saturday, May 24th, was my 20th birthday and what a birthday indeed. It's not every year that a Nebraskan gets to spend her special day ocean side, on the beach, surrounded by palm trees, all the while being able to serve others with love only given by Holy Spirit himself!

The day started off with an excellent breakfast of pain au chocolat (chocolate filled croissants), fresh pineapple, freshly squeezed orange juice, and fresh mango preserves to top off toasted french bread!

After breakfast the whole team had a group devotion on Acts 4 led by Gavin that was so great! We talked about how we need to continually ask the Holy Spirit to fill us so that we can do and say all that He wants. We are continually growing, but are we growing in ourselves, or in Him?

We then headed off to Modeste where the guys began building benches and all us gals broke out the coloring books and crayons for the children of the village. Many of the children had never even seen a crayon before and so we showed them how to color the pages with the different colored crayons. They were so delighted.

After a while more and more and more kids kept coming and wanting coloring book pages. When they would be done coloring one page they would come and give it to me and in return I would tear out another blank one for them to start on. It was so fun to see them get such a kick out of it!

I was then showed one of the lady's kitchens, which consisted of a metal pot over a coconut leaf fire. Ashley translated to me that the lady had told her that during the rainy season it's very hard to get a fire started since the leaves are hard to get dried. The men will usually go out on the weekends to collect the leaves that have dropped to the ground since it's hard to get them off the tree.

Back at the hotel we had lunch and Mike presented me with a gift from the whole team. The most perfect gift: a silver chain necklace with the shape of Africa. There is a small metal dot that was molded to it where Cote d'Ivoire is. I absolutely love it and will cherish it forever. What a great reminder of my time here.

That evening we went back to the church at Modeste where we showed the Jesus Film in Bambara. Christine wrote a blog about that, so I'll let you read what she has to say about it.

My birthday was absolutely magnificent, and I couldn't ask for anything more.


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Monday, May 26, 2008

Deserving of more than just two thumbs up.

Our guys are hard at work, even as I write this, to bless the CMA church of Modeste. Saturday was our first day in the village, where the church is, and the beginning of hard core labor. The church is a main meeting place for all different kinds of events, celebrations, services, and the like, and so are in great need for a bunch of benches. Mike, Gavin, Stephen, David, and John began to construct 30 benches for the church on Saturday morning. They hoped to get done, but after constructing about 8 during the morning and afternoon decided it would not be possible to finish until today.

They began with a early start, as i sent them off with the sack lunches I made for them the night before. :) (Peanut butter on Lebanese flat bread, apples, etc.) They said they would rather do that than have to stop and break for lunch!

We are so proud of the hard work they have been doing and the buckets of sweat that have drenched many of their t-shirts. They will be much deserving of a dip in the ocean or ocean water pool this evening! :)

Please pray for their uplifted spirits and that they continue to keep a positive outlook on the reason why they are working so earnestly.


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Thursday, May 22, 2008

What I've Learned...

If you've been keeping up on our blog you probably know, by know, what we've been spending our time doing these past few days...

To be honest, it was a bit hard for me to focus on being full of joy while breathing in paint fumes and sweating all my body's water content out while scraping and painting all day for three days in a row. When I saw the eagerness of the children that lived there to help us paint, clean up, take all the tape off the walls after we were done, and whatever else we were doing at the time, it made me motivated to finish our duties with a willing heart. They wanted to do all the work, right along beside us. This is exactly what our hearts should be constantly yearning for. We should be constantly yearning for an undying willingness to serve our Lord with open hearts. Gavin gave us a pep-talk after lunch today before we started and said something that we should totally be constantly we thinking of... "paint this building as if Jesus was living here, it's for Him." It truly made me more motivated to go on and finish the job. Jesus is our reason for coming to Africa and Jesus should be the reason we live our day to day lives. Whether it be painting for a seminary that focuses it's time on teaching the word of God and raising Godly leaders, or playing games with children that don't speak your verbal language but can still translate the language of love, or simply driving around town to a great meal prepared by people that want to bless you. All these things should be done with the heart of Christ in mind and all things should be done to glorify Him.

Please pray that our hearts are focused on such things and that we continue to have uplifted spirits. I pray that you shall be able to focus your day to day life glorifying the One who gave His life for you.

If anyone has requests or prayers please let them be known to us. Mike fixed the features, so you should be able to post comments now.

May you seek Him in all you do.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh What A Sweaty Day!

Today we put a second coat on the stairwells of the apartment building at the Seminary and touched up some on the main halls. One building down, and another to do, which we got mostly done, and there wasn't as much either. Again, we had lunch at the Livingstons, which is so nice of them to have us over to replenish us before going back out to work. It was after lunch that we started on the main building and then that it was also the hottest. Yesterday, not so bad because the hallways are open at the apartments, the main building was more closed off. The kids at the seminary are always great and so anxious to get their picture taken and see how it turned out; I even let them take pictures of each other until they would fight over it and that's where it was time to take it back.

Tonight we took a walk after dinner for some ice cream that Mike has been looking forward to probably since we arrived. It was well worth the walk! On the way there (and back for that matter) we came across something you wouldn't think would be on the street or crossing the road- it was a crab! Yes, you heard that right. It scared Dina and I think it was scared all of us too.

So far it's been great here and everyone is so kind and welcoming and I feel blessed to interact with the people. Everywhere you go you give a wave and "bonjour" and every time you see them you get closer to becoming friends.

For now,


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Monday, May 19, 2008

Green Tea with a kick.

This is our gatekeeper, Abou. He made us green tea shots which is just super concentrated green tea with alot of sugar. Talk about caffine high!

Our time here has been wonderful so far!


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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Abobo C&MA Church

It took us 90 minutes to get to church. We spent a lot of time waiting for the pastor at a gas station, then wound our way through muddy roads to the Abobo C&MA church. It was a long service. Gavin was feeling under the weather, but did a great job preaching! We got home around 2 PM.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Ashley Schmidt arriving from Mali

Ashley Schmidt will be the first CCC 2008 team member to arrive in Abidjan. Her flight arrives at about 3 PM. She is currently doing an extended short term mission in Mali. We look forward to hearing about her ministry there. We might be mistaken, but we think she is working at the Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children.

Hospital sign
The Koutiala hospital, located in Mali, West Africa, is being built to meet the physical and spiritual needs of women and children.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Modeste Church from highway

Modeste church
Modeste Church view from the highway between Abidjan and Grand Bassam

I'm here with Pastor Daniel, starting the work on the 30 new church benches. We're making sure the materials are all correct and that the generator can power the circular saw. We're building one model for the team to copy. We'll be back next week with the team, painting, repairing and building benches. Saturday night the 24th, we'll be showing the Jesus Film in Bambara. Then Sunday the 25th, Gavin will preach and we'll celebrate communion.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

Orphanage office

Orphanage office
We will be painting this office for the orphanage staff


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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alliance African Seminary FATEAC

C&MA West African Seminary known as the FATEAC
Seminary classrooms in background, chapel on right.

This theological seminary provides vital leaders for many denominations in West and Central Africa. Professors are from Africa, Europe and the USA. Even after the evacuations of all our Alliance North American workers from Abidjan, the seminary kept right on training students.


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Monday, April 28, 2008

Important needs at the orphanage

Modeste village C&MA Church

If enough funds are donated to the support of the team members, we will purchase the following items for the girls' orphanage:
  • Paint for the library, dispensary and an office
  • Notebooks with 100, 200 and 300 pages
  • Blue, Red, Green ink pens
  • Hand held blackboards
  • Geometry rulers
  • Math and Reading Textbooks
  • Notebook Protectors
  • Copier paper
  • Hand Soap
  • Bleach
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Toilet Paper
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Oatmeal
  • Chocolate Powder
  • Rice
  • Sardines
  • Spaghetti
  • Tylenol
  • Medication for malaria
  • Athletic equipment

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Modeste church back door

Modeste village C&MA Church
View from northwest of the Modeste village C&MA Church.

This is one of the "portable chapels" built by C&MA pastor Ralph Herber, nearly 20 years ago. The idea is for the church to put up cement block walls when they later have enough resources. The congregation recently spent all their savings to replace the tin roof. The doors and some of the walls and benches are starting to rot and need to be replaced or repaired.

We would like to replace the walls with brick. But we need permission from the government authorities. This is an area that could eventually become a new housing complex, so we might only be able to repair the facility.


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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Looking for housing in Grand Bassam

We're looking for housing for the team in Grand Bassam. We will work at the girl's orphanage and the nearby Modeste village C&MA Church. It is a Bamabara language church.

The three top choices we've found for housing are Koral Beach Hotel, the Marvin Hotel Villas and the Assoyam Hotel. It is hard to find a place we can afford in Grand Bassam. It is a popular place, where people in Abidjan go to get away from the city.

Pray that the Lord would give us wisdom as we make the final arrangements in the next few days.

Please make a generous tax-deductible gift toward the team's support. Contact us for more information.


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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Front of the C&MA Modeste village church

Orphanage sign
Pastor John Traore and one of the elders measure the church. We are considering replacing the wood walls with cement block.


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Friday, April 25, 2008

Orphanage sign

Orphanage sign
Our first visit to the orphanage in October 2006, with my niece Sara.


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Visited Orphanage

Made plans with the Grand Bassam Girls' Orphanage for our ministry there.

Girls on their way to class.

Dormitory where the girls sleep. Notice the mosquito nets on every bed. Malaria kills 8 kids every hour in Cote d'Ivoire

Daniel and John
Daniel and John in front of the dormitory on right and dining hall on the left.


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