2017 Video Update!!

2017 Video Update!!

Nearly seven years since our return to Madagascar as a family and like a good and loving father, our God is so gracious! This powerful video captures the essence of the ministry that the Lord has allowed our team to be a part of as we seek to restore health, forests, and Hope in Madagascar. If you’re a cryer, grab your tissues…. I know it makes me shed a few tears each time as I see the Lord’s goodness and His mercy in our midst. Special...

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In two hands…

In two hands…

In two hands… This last month has felt that we’re often holding life with all of it’s opposing feelings and situations in two hands at the same time. In one hand, soaking in the life-giving days we had in Seattle with Madagascar teammates and college friends while in the other hand, navigating a damaging and destructive situation with employees in Madagascar at the same time. In one hand, the pride of our oldest...

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Earth, Wind and Fire….

Earth, Wind and Fire….

Winds of change… We’ve been back in the USA for two months and thankfully, the winds of change are lessening and life is starting to feel normal again as we juggle the new routines and rhythms of American life. Home assignment is intended to be a time set aside from the demands of ministry on the mission field– a time to be with friends and family, a time to be refreshed in your native language, a time to catch up with...

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Photo Highlight Reel…

Photo Highlight Reel…

Highlight Reel… My brain and heart haven’t been in a place to write a newsletter…. usually my head is spinning all month long with what I want to share. This month it just hasn’t. We decided a highlight reel of images from this last term in Madagascar would be a fantastic substitute… I mean, who doesn’t love photographs– it’s honestly one of my love languages! Easier said than done though–...

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From two sides of the globe…

From two sides of the globe…

Here and there… As I type, we’re on our last day in Madagascar for 2017… late tonight we head to the airport for our 1:50am flight to Paris and then on to Los Angeles. I would be lying to say that it wasn’t with mixed emotions that we’re leaving. peace– we have peace with the place that we were able to leave each of the ministries and peace knowing that the Lord has raised up an amazing ministry team that...

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Ten on Ten- July 2017

Ten on Ten- July 2017

Ten (or more) images a month on the 10th of the month in an attempt to capture the ordinary of life wherever we may and whatever we may be doing at the time. This month the 10th fell on a Monday– a Monday during our kid’s summer vacation, a typical Monday of prenatal program at the Sarobidy Maternity Center, a Monday just two weeks before our departure from our city of Mahajanga to begin the journey back to the USA.  In other words,...

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Goodbye’s, hello’s, repeat, repeat, repeat….

Goodbye’s, hello’s, repeat, repeat, repeat….

Goodbyes… Thank you for your prayers for the three families– the Bright’s, Gough’s, and Jensen’s that left Madagascar earlier this month. The last year has been a gift in so many ways for us personally, as a field, ministry-wise and for each of the families and those they interacted with daily. Goodbyes are never easy but the sadness and tears are truly a testimony to the intensity of the life shared...

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Ten on Ten- June 2017

Ten on Ten- June 2017

How the month of June came and vanished with the blink of an eye is beyond me.  It could’ve been all the extra things to conquer while our team of five families was still on the ground here in Madagascar, or it could’ve been soaking up all the last memories as a large team of 26 adults and kids, or the many tears shed and tender good-byes that we and the Carlstrom’s said to the Bright, Gough and Jensen families.  This has...

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Across the board…

Across the board…

Life on the mission field brings an array of emotions across the board… this letter hits a bit on a few of these. Heavy… (This is part of an original blog post that can be found here….) A first-time mom with joyful expectation of delivering a healthy baby boy at the Sarobidy Maternity Center had been struggling with the results of her 20-week ultrasound that showed her baby had short legs. Unbelieving of the news, she received a...

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Heavy…

Heavy…

It’s been months, if not going on years, since I’ve actually written in this space.  My heart aches to write and too often I push this desire aside to complete the unending list of tasks and self-imposed deadlines. Alas I’m putting it off no longer… there’s too much to say, too much to share, too much that I want to invite others into to better understand what full-time life and ministry in Madagascar is really...

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Ten on Ten- May 2017

Ten on Ten- May 2017

Ten images on the tenth of the month to capture the beauty in the ordinary of daily life. Like many of you, life here sometimes feels like we can get in a deep rut day in and day out… work, school, cook, work, school, cook, throw in drama and birth and frustrations of life, throw in late night skype calls, extreme poverty, death, more drama… The things I love about living in this country are numerous… and at the same time so...

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Can you imagine…?

Can you imagine…?

Can you imagine… The medical system in Madagascar is broken as it is in many countries. Our guard’s wife, Elizabeth has been very very sick for several weeks. It began when I received a phone call from our back-up physician on March 20th telling me that Elizabeth was at her clinic, bleeding from the pores in her skin, her mouth, her eyes! Her hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen was incredibly low, so low...

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Ten on Ten- April 2017

Ten on Ten- April 2017

Ten (or more) pictures over the course of 10 (or so) hours on the 10th of the month.  This month is extra special as my mom is visiting us from Santa Barbara… she traveled solo half way around the world to be with us for two weeks! We continued our daily routines as much as is possible with folks visiting… workouts, maternity center, eden work, artisan work, school… and all the extras of extra games, teaching grandkids to...

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Many Hands… (and pictures!)

Many Hands… (and pictures!)

Many Hands… It’s simply amazing to witness the many hands of the numerous talented, passionate and gifted people that the Lord has brought together to accomplish so much here in our little corner of Madagascar.  In doing so, the Lord has woven our lives together from various backgrounds and nationalities, and as such, has strengthened the strand that brings us together to serve Him and the people on the Red Island. Here are treasured...

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Ten on Ten- March

Ten on Ten- March

On the 10th of the month, a photo an hour– over ten (ish) hours. This month the 10th fell on a Friday… and oh, how I love Fridays! With the exception of a birth or a government/business meeting, Fridays are usually reserved for starting the day a bit slower, catching up on stuff around the house– laundry and such, and administrative tasks– tackling emails, updating charts for the maternity center, preparing for the...

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Of turf wars and helping babies breathe…

Of turf wars and helping babies breathe…

Turf wars… Just 30km north, Antsanitia is a small fishing village and is Eden Projects closest dry deciduous planting site to our city. Eden has hired 22 women and men from Antsanitia village to replant the quickly disappearing forest due to charcoal production, clear cutting and fires. For years, there’s been a turf war between Antsanitia and another village further down the beach, Ampanjoany where many villagers make a living...

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Ten on Ten– February 2017

Ten on Ten– February 2017

Ten images a month to catch the beauty of the everyday for us… occasionally the everyday is in America, most of the time it’s in Madagascar, and I dream of days that it would be in places like Spain or Italy, Guatemala or Peru… a girl can dream!  Project from www.rebekahgough.com. We’re rehabilitating this little sifaka lemur… we’re calling her “Rosie”… and she is really the sweetest...

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“I never thought it possible…” January News

“I never thought it possible…” January News

“I never thought it possible…” Those were the words spoken by Josy nearly four years ago when he thought about living to see his 40th birthday. He didn’t think he would make it. He was literally at death’s door and given just days to live by the doctor when we received the phone call telling us to come quickly if we wanted to see our dear friend before he passed away. Immediately we made the 12-hour drive to the...

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Around Town…

Around Town…

You know how it is… after living someplace for awhile all the sights become part of the normal scenery that you become accustomed to and it’s not often that you’re a tourist in your own town.  Such is the case with life in Mahajanga after 7 years.  There has been more times than I can count that I’ve thought, “ah, I wish I had my camera” because the photo ops in this city (and country!) are seriously...

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Ten on Ten- January 2017

Ten on Ten- January 2017

Ten photos throughout the day on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty of the ordinary in our day.  The 10th landed on a Tuesday this month.  Tuesday is our shopping day that Jamie and I make a date out of… nothing special…  no great restaurants, food, coffee, movie, walk on the beach, etc… merely a day that we set aside each week to catch up and be together sans kiddos and little voices interrupting our conversation....

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In Closing…. December 2016

In Closing…. December 2016

2016 by the numbers… Yet another year is drawing to a close and the hopeful anticipation of a new year is upon us. We’re typically not ones that look back on the year but we’re thankful for this forum of newsletters that cause us to pause and replay all that the Lord has done here in Madagascar and in our lives.     A glimpse into 2016 by the numbers…  * 584 employees hired by Eden Projects, Sarobidy...

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Ten on Ten- December 2016

Ten on Ten- December 2016

Ten pictures on the 10th day of the month to capture life’s little joys.  Thankful that the 10th of December landed on a Saturday where we could get out and enjoy time with friends and a break from the relentless heat and humidity that comes with summer time here in the Southern Hemisphere.  Electricity outages are common in Madagascar and occur even more frequently during the hot season…. giving us even more reason to grab some...

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Even in riots and betrayal… (and a video update!)

Even in riots and betrayal… (and a video update!)

 In all things and in all ways… give thanks!    Give thanks… even in the riots    The month of November started amazing as we were wrapping up a much-needed vacation with my folks and our teammates on the beautiful island of Nosy Be!  You can read more about that here.        Our vacation abruptly came to a halt when we found ourselves at the center of a riot on the drive home. Literally. The 14 of us...

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Ministry Video Update– October 2016

Ministry Video Update– October 2016

It’s been a really, really long time since we ourselves have created a ministry video update.  We both enjoy capturing the footage but the act of putting it all together into a short video is another story.  We’re thankful we have a teammate here, Mark Bright that loves and is good at that stuff!!  So without further delay, our 2016 video update!     To view this update and/or past Red Island Restoration updates, click...

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Ten on Ten- November

Ten on Ten- November

This month, ten on ten iPhone edition.  Ten images on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty of the life we’re blessed to live.  This month on the 10th I was in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar with my folks, doing a little sightseeing and shopping before helping them get on the plane and off the island, back to the good ole’ USA.  Though the traffic is a nightmare, the sights and beauty of Antananarivo never get...

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Surprise! October 2016 News

Surprise!  October 2016 News

Surprise!! Earlier this month our kids experienced the largest surprise of their young lives to date when both my mom (AND dad!) walked off the plane in our city of Mahajanga! Isabella, Eliana and Gavin knew that grandma was coming and mourned the fact that grandpa wouldn’t be joining her due to his business. You can only imagine the squeals of delight reverberating off the walls of our tiny airport when grandpa walked in too! Comments in...

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Ten on Ten- October

Ten on Ten- October

Ten pictures on the 10th of the month to document this little life of ours… This Monday morning was spent at the Sarobidy Maternity Center during our prenatal program.  Lots of moms with bulging bellies and great love and hope for their little ones within their wombs… but didn’t get a single image.  The rest are the events that followed… after school baking, playtime with puppies, a birthday...

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It’s so much more… September 2016 News

It’s so much more… September 2016 News

More than just trees… September has proved to be most likely our busiest month this term in Madagascar. Amongst a sea of other things, we received and hosted a major Eden Projects group, including Steve, the founder and president of Eden, two board members, six major donors and two cinematographers. For 9 days this large group plus Jamie, Neal and our Malagasy crew traveled by helicopter to visit 3 mangrove planting sites, 5 dry...

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Ten on Ten- September

Ten on Ten- September

Ten photos a day on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty in the daily life. This month on September 10th we had a filmmaker from the USA helping us to share what’s happening here in Madagascar.  Chris is ever-so-talented and has made some films in the past for us– you can check those out here, here and here. These quick-snap iPhone photos taken by several different people simply captured the behind the scenes magic of this...

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Of babies and ambulance rides… August 2016 News

Of babies and ambulance rides… August 2016 News

First Births… More than three years ago we opened the Sarobidy Maternity Center with a 3-Phase approach. The reasoning behind this approach was simple… we’ve never opened or run a maternity center and we wanted to take it slow, do it right, and create a solid foundation on which the center would grow well. 2013: Phase 1— we began to provide prenatal and postpartum care, education, and vitamins. Deliveries occurred with...

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Final Days…

Final Days…

Growth!    The week is just starting at the Sarobidy Maternity Center and already the place is full! This morning brought 8 new women applying to be in our prenatal program. One new first-time mama will come back into the postpartum program on Thursday after having her baby at the center two weeks ago. At the same time on Thursday, 3 women and their 4 beautifully chubby breastfed babies will graduate with diplomas and another 6 months of...

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Ten on Ten- August

Ten on Ten- August

Ten of Ten– 10 images on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty of the simple dailies.  This month a baby was born in the early morning hours on the 10th and so after 34 hours without sleep, I finally crashed and re-picked up the camera a day later. Linking up with Rebekah Gough for this great little project– and a fun fact– Rebekah’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law are arriving in Madagascar later this month to...

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Expect the Unexpected… July 2016 News

Expect the Unexpected… July 2016 News

Expect the Unexpected…    That’s what we tell all people coming out to Madagascar, whether to visit or to live…. “expect the unexpected”.  Things can change quickly here–sometimes at a drop of a hat all plans for the day are flipped upside.  Maybe it’s because of a birth, or a death, or thievery, or an unplanned meeting with one of the minister’s of health or water and forestry. Sometimes...

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Ten on Ten- July

Ten on Ten- July

For years I’ve had the burning desire to participate in a little exercise called Ten on Ten…. something that another former SPU alum and acquaintance, Rebekah Gough began.  The premise is simple: 10 pictures a day on the 10th of every month in order to capture the beauty that is life all around.  And so, the day before a planned trip to the capital rather than the standard rush and impatience, I pulled out the camera throughout to...

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The good, the bad and the ugly…. June 2016 News

The good, the bad and the ugly…. June 2016 News

Life as we all know it is sometimes a mixture of good, bad and ugly… at times, all three are wrapped into a single day. The month of June seemed to be just this for us here in Madagascar. Kalamboro… (the good!) Thank you for your many prayers that went out as we traveled as a group to the remote fishing villages of Kalamboro and Mahabana! In Kalamboro, the reception was unbelievable as lines of people formed to give a formal...

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A Special Invitation to Create Lasting Impact…

A Special Invitation to Create Lasting Impact…

New Life Abounds…     We’ve received dozens of visitors over the last few years as they come to visit the work at the Sarobidy Center– some have specifically come to see the reforestation nursery, some have come to see the maternity center, while others have been friends, family, bosses and potential future teammates. The common observation that people share with us as they leave is that the center is a place where NEW LIFE...

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Growing Up (an update in pictures!)… May News

Growing Up (an update in pictures!)… May News

Growing Up… Five and half years into ministry here and we’re so thankful the various ministries are continuing to grow up– new opportunities, project expansions, growing in skills and knowledge, and adding a few more wrinkles to our faces along the way! Ultrasound Arrival!    We recently received a grant for a portable Ultrasound machine that we’ll soon begin using at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. This amazing piece...

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Putting Out Fires– April News

Putting Out Fires– April News

Deforestation in Madagascar is estimated between 88-90%– quite the staggering rate!  The two largest culprits of the continued destruction of the forests are 1) charcoal production to be used for cooking and heating purposes and 2) slash and burn farming.  When traveling on the two-lane national highway during the dry season, one can easily count 15 or 20 plumes of smoke from various areas dotting the landscape.  Of course with...

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Unsurpassed Love… March News

Unsurpassed Love… March News

You may remember towards the end of 2015 that many of you gave generously for necessary renovations at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  All these renovations and improvements are in preparation for when we begin deliveries at the center later this year.  A few have asked us, “why the improvements? or “doesn’t the center function now?”.  While the answer is Yes, the center does function… the more important answer...

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Unexpected… February News

Unexpected… February News

Unexpected birth… It was 11:15pm and amazingly, we were already in bed and had just fallen asleep. I received a phone call from Rota, the Malagasy midwife at the maternity center.  She was talking fast and was a bit winded as she walked down the dark dirt road telling me that Elizabeth, who was pregnant with twins and at term, was laboring at her home and progressing quickly.  I texted Danielle, our American ministry partner, threw on...

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23 Pieces of Luggage…

23 Pieces of Luggage…

     23 pieces of luggage…. that’s how many pieces of luggage we brought back with us to Madagascar!  That of course, is not including our checked luggage of which we had five pieces plus an additional three backpacks for the kids, my purse and a computer bag for Jamie.  So if you’re the math type… that’s 33 pieces!  Oh and a carseat…. 34 pieces total!  Perhaps it gives a whole new branding name to us...

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New Life and a Chance for New Beginnings… January News

New Life and a Chance for New Beginnings… January News

Thank you for praying us back to Madagascar earlier this month!  We arrived after only one hiccup due to a passport at the airport which caused us to spend an additional 3 days in the USA.  In the end, the extra time in Santa Barbara was such a gift!  We slept, walked on the beach, went surfing, had additional time with friends and family and even were able to pick up prescription medication for the kids that hadn’t come into the...

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Fingerprints in the Details…. December News

Fingerprints in the Details…. December News

Home Assignment by the Numbers… As we wrap up our time in the USA we look back to all that occurred in such a short amount of time. Historically, our time in the USA has been busier than we plan, hope for or anticipate– this time was no different and we’ve come to the realization that this is our “normal” here– and as such, we simply cannot buck it or complain about it!  🙂  Our time in the States is full...

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Combatting Lies with Truth… November News

Combatting Lies with Truth… November News

   For years we have been praying for like-minded ministry partners to join in the growing work in Madagascar.  In 2014 and early 2015 we hosted several individuals, couples and families that came to Madagascar for vision trips.  Now that we’re back in the States we’re meeting with the same folks as they work on returning to Madagascar to serve with us– some for 6 months, some for a year, some for as long as God keeps them...

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Sharing Our Burden… October News

Sharing Our Burden… October News

Twins x 2! Last month two mama’s-to-be in our prenatal program went in for their first ultrasound… both walked out with surprising news– both expecting TWINS, both with the same expected due date of February 22nd!  Elizabeth and Nathalie, the special mamas and these four babies are the first twins in our program!  They have begun receiving dual care– continuing to come each week to the Sarobidy Maternity Center to...

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“Sorry Madagascar, Your Problems Aren’t Hot Enough…”

“Sorry Madagascar, Your Problems Aren’t Hot Enough…”

ISS- AKA the Institute for Security Studies, recently published an article on October 7th about Madagascar written by Simon Allison.  The title: Sorry Madagascar, Your Problems Aren’t Hot Enough.  The title basically sums what we’ve been saying for years, Madagascar is a forgotten corner of the globe that is often overlooked and neglected.  The truth hits hard. The words written in the article, sobering.  We see the reality of...

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Creating Beauty… September News

Creating Beauty… September News

Thank you so much for your prayers as Jamie returned to Madagascar for a 2-week work trip with Eden Projects!  Within 12 hours of being in country, they were already out in the remote fishing village of Kalamboro, meeting with the people and employees of Eden Projects.  During their days, they collected important scientific data but even more importantly, they sat with women and men who have been employed with Eden Projects and they listened...

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On Transition and Re-Entry…

On Transition and Re-Entry…

Transition and re-entry.  It’s become a regular part of our lives, typically on a 20 month then 5 month then 20 month then 5 month rotation. Each and every time we return to the USA we experience transition.  Each and every time we return to Madagascar we experience transition.  Through the years, the transition and re-entry back home to Madagascar has become easier while the transition and re-entry to the USA has increasingly become...

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The Living Proof… August News

The Living Proof… August News

In the last 6 weeks, we’ve been in Madagascar, Paris, California, Colorado, Idaho and as I write this, Jamie is BACK in Madagascar after having arrived in country over the weekend for work with Eden Projects!  In the next 3 weeks, Jamie and I will add Ghana and Amsterdam to that list before we return back to the USA together!  To read more from our August Newsletter, click here. Like it? Share...

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Replanting the Forests of Madagascar – a featured article

Replanting the Forests of Madagascar – a featured article

We’re excited to share with you that our work with Eden Projects in Madagascar was the recent featured article in the Inside WorldVenture magazine!  To quote the article, “WorldVenture missionaries are leading one of the largest reforestation projects in the world, alleviating poverty and changing hearts as they go”. Take a look at this awesome article by clicking here, then use the arrow to start reading at page 17! Like it?...

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