Why we can be optimistic?

07 Feb 2012

I am excited that every people group in Peru will be reached for Gospel. Though we may play only a tiny part in God's plan, I am confident that hundreds of thousands of people in Peru who currently do not know Jesus will one day worship Him as Lord and Savior. Am I just a silly optimist? Is this just a crazy dream?

There are a couple of very good reasons why we can be confident. Patrick Johnstone, editor of Operation World, explains this in detail. He gives two reasons why not just Peru but the world will be reached by the gospel.

Firstly, Jesus promises it. The job he gave us to do will be completed. In Matthew 24 Jesus promises that the gospel will be preached through the whole world. Also in Revelation 7:9 we read about "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb".

Secondly, the statistics demonstrate that this is actually happening. While the church in Europe and other parts of the west have been in decline, in Latin America, Africa & parts of Asia the church has been growing strongly. Globally there was a hard patch in the mid 20th century where we had 60 years of stagnation but in 1950/60 something dramatic happened. This continued in the 1970's with massive growth in Latin America. In the 1980's it was China and now it continues in India.

Patrick says that while he is optimistic there are still dangers and challenges. He sees the main danger being the fragmentation of the evangelical church over secondary issues. A challenge is that we need to have a long term perspective. Anything that is done quickly is not necessarily going to get quick results - let alone the long-term transformation of a culture.

See the full interview with Patrick Johnstone here. 

Patrick Johnstone Part 1 of 2 from U.S. Center for World Mission on Vimeo.

So bringing this back to Peru - we're seeing the church continuing to grow. We also see so much potential. In our ministry area with university students there is currently only a single full-time Christian staff worker for all of southern Peru - which is a massive area. What would happen if we could have a staff worker for each city and even each University? We also see an openness to the Gospel and people are willing to discuss Spiritual issues.

Here in Peru there are dangers and challenges too. The danger I see is with rapidly growing churches that teach that the Bible promises prosperity and health. The subtle message they promote is that God solely exists to fulfill our needs rather than our need to submit to Him. The challenge on the other hand is to have Bible based churches working together and supporting each other. These are exciting times and also times for prayer.

An Introduction

07 Feb 2012

Greetings! Welcome to the new blog for Mark & Rochelle Groombridge.

For our first blog, we just wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know a little bit about what we are doing in Slovenia.

Peter & Lidija Novak

Rochelle and I have been in Slovenia for 8 years now. We were invited to work alongside pastor Peter Novak, who is a Slovene we met while studying at Bible College in Australia. We serve the people of Reformirana evangelijska cerkev, which is easily translated as the Reformed Evangelical Church. The acronym REC fortunately works in both Slovene and English, however we usually use the Slovene sounds, hence we say RETS (a 'c' is Slovene sounds like the 'ts' you make when using the Russian title czar or tsar).

The church consists of about two dozen men, women and children. We are committed to teaching Slovenes to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ, through reading the Bible. We will obviously talk more about the challenges we face doing this in later blogs.

Rochelle and I have three children. Our eldest son is Matej (this is the Slovene form of Matthew and said like Ma-tae), who was born in Slovenia in 2006 and attends a local pre-school every day. He really enjoys playing with Lego, wrestling with his Dad, and watching cartoons. Philippa was born in Australia in 2008, while we were in Sydney visiting our sending churches. She also loves pre-school, going to exercises, and doing anything which involves playing with other people. Calvin is our youngest and he was also born in Slovenia in 2010.

Through this blog we have several goals:

  • We want to provide you with another avenue to hear about what we are doing here in Slovenia through us
  • We want to share some of the challenges we are facing.by living in a different culture
  • We want to encourage you to pray for what God is doing here and around the world
  • We want to encourage you to consider how you can serve God's church throughout the world

We are thankful to Missionshub for allowing us to join them in their project to promote God's mission through modern internet features. We trust this blog will be fruitful in bringing glory to God.

Spending time with the Family

03 Feb 2012

Hi Friends.

We are so thankful with God this summer for our first summer church family camp. Most of the time parents want more activities for their children during the vacations. In Peru they like to put their children in music classes, poetry classes, swim, language, etc. However they don't consider that the vacations may be an opportunity to spend more time with their children. They only think how busy they are!!

So we worked for 3 months to raise money and organize a program for this camp. Praise God that on the camp we had 9 families, parents and children together, for 3 days leaving, playing, swimming, eating, working like a team in some activities. They were really grateful for this camp.

Sometimes we want to look for more activities for our children apart from us but often they want to spend more time with us!!

Thank you God for providing and protecting us!!! People are asking me for the dates for the next family camp.  

Be Still & Know That I Am God : The Challenge

01 Feb 2012

Coming back to a 'third world' country obviously has its challenges. Before coming, God was sensitizing me to how I often 'buy, make, collect' things and how they make me 'feel' better.

Today I read these words from T.W. Tozer:

"There is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess.... The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us .... must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence, as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart!.

Pow! How's that for between the eyes!

Becoming aware of my need to 'possess'  materials is one thing (and certainly a first world problem) but what of my need to 'possess' adequacies, reputation and respect?

Our God is so wise. He knows its not the 'possessions' we need but the process of His transformation. I think of the verse; Be still and know that I am God and how He has set up from the beginning of time, 'the way' to live so that these fibrous roots that entangle us are regularly kept in check. For example, He knows that we need one day a week to stop our striving, creating and collecting, and 'know' that He is God (the provider).

More and more as I submit to His ways, I discover He is indeed transforming my life. How good is our God!

Home at last !!

28 Jan 2012

We are praising the Lord for our new home. We were finally able to move last weekend and are really enjoying settling in and setting it up for our family life and ministry needs. The Lord has really provided.

We are praying for the sale of the former church and manse buildings which should cover the price of this new pastoral home and avoid drawn out loans.

We are thankful for so much help in moving; even the Reformed Church couple organised to have our moving team eat at their manse. It took away all the pressure to provide and set up, leaving me free to coordinate the move.

This week I also started up some of the ministry activities I had had to stop while renovating the house and preparing the move (not to mention the month we were all 5 of us ill just after Christmas!) It was great to be back and has made me even more determined to set up my office to be really efficient.

One of the pleasures of moving was being able to sort through so many papers. I had kept most of my notes from 3 years of Bible College, and really hadn't looked at them for years. As I sorted through what I thought I should need in the future, I was struck by how much we learned, how precious those classes were. I know where to look for much of the material if I need it again, but the other positive discovery was how much of our course work I had integrated into my life and ministry as well. So a big grateful prayer to the Lord for all those wonderful teachers, but also for His Holy Spirit who continues to teach us and guide us.

I realized also that it's vital to put into practice what we learn and that's the way it sticks even after all these years. I'm now looking out for opportunities to transmit some of this precious knowledge to other women - discipling them to disciple others.


28 Jan 2012

The photo of youth revival meeting in Kandhamal.

       A. If you have been redeemed, accepted God's gift of salvation..."be risen with Christ."

              1. To be risen with Christ is to be risen to eternal life. 

              2. It means we have true life. It points us to the Lord Jesus in Heaven and our waiting for the appointed day when He will come for us. 

              3. Note that Christ is standing by the right hand of God. It focuses on the fact of Christ watching inventively at what we are doing, not sitting, but standing in anticipation. Standing to guide and direct and empower us with all the power of God Himself. 

B. Paul here is making a straight forward appeal. To those who have been saved and experienced the power of God in Salvation, become in life and experience what God has made you by His Grace. 

              1. What a passage this is to challenge us in this New Year. Live as God would have us too. 

     2. Accomplish that which He desires for us. Be found in his pure will. 

C.   To end up straight we must start straight and keep straight until the end. We have that opportunity before us. 

            1. We have a new day before us. God is the God of new beginnings. 

              2. Let us resolve to do better, and do our best for the Lord in this New Year He has given us. 

              3. Let's commit ourselves, to with God's help, be what He wants us to be. Let us turn from our sin and turn rather to God 

              4. We must all admit we failed in many ways last year, but that is no reason not to strive and move forward this year. We learn from our trials.


               It is a fact that if we attempt nothing, we will be very successful and will accomplish nothing. 

              God has always used the man or woman who would have a vision of what God can do and believing that, strive to be victorious in the Lord. 

 Some would make little of resolutions and speak ill of making them. Remember, to end up straight you must start straight and keep straight. The start is vital to the ending. What athlete ever won the race by starting with an attitude of conceding to failure in the end? God’s will is clearly stated for all Christian men and women to keep on trying, and who never give up! Those that continue they win, the finish and they do so because of their resolve. I feel sorry for the man or woman who giving in to failure, or far worse the man who trudges on with his head down. I like a man who will shake his fist as trouble and keep on. The Christian however, sets his jaw and declares that God says “we are more than conquerors.” (Rom. 8::37) Therefore he admits he cannot win in his own strength so he makes the resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct him and accomplish what he could not. Remember it God’s work. We are His servants and He will supply the need. 

D. Set your affections on things above. God has given us the direction to go, He has set the course. 

              1. Thank God for the man or woman who is not satisfied with what they are and wants to be better for the Lord. To be a great tool used by the Lord. 

              2. Thank God for the Child of God who says, I hate every sin in my life, God forgive and help me to overcome every one. I despise my shabby habits, unfaithfulness, and apathy. Lord, help me to shake off my bad habits, cleanse me of lust, convict me of sin, remove it shackles from my heart and give me a pure and clean heart. 

              3. I thank God for every child of God that makes the commitment to be faithful to the Lord’s local church. Money, family, friends, inconvenience or apathy are not reckoned to be a reason to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Heb. 10:25)


E. Don't fail to start! It takes more power to start a car and get it moving than it does to keep it running. 

 When Carolyn and I first came to Utah we were driving an 81 Ford Escort. The alternator burned up somewhere pass Vernal and we were running on the battery. We almost panicked because there were no towns with a shop to fix it. We finally found a store that had a battery charger which was east of Dushane and with a charged batter we went on to Salt Lake. The car made it to Salt Lake City but the battery was so drained it would not start the car. We got it charged again and off we went to Wyoming to visit a friend. The point was clear it took little current to run the engine but a lot to start it. 

A car uses less power running than starting. Cars too must start in low gear, after they start you change to a higher gear because the motion helps to keep it going. The car would not pull off in high gear. 

               1. A life in motion helps itself. If it is started right it is easier to go right. 

              2. For the lost man or woman, the start begins with believing and accepting God's only begotten Son as your personal Savior. That is not only the right start, it is the only right start. . . all others fail, and hell reaps the ruin that will always result. 

SIM Peru Conference

23 Jan 2012

Running makes missionaries happy, healthy and wise!

SIM Peru had our Spiritual Life Conference at the Bible Union Camp near Lima.  Every year we gather all the missionaries and kids (77 this year!) and spend time together.  Dr. Stuart Scott from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary came to teach on Biblical decision making, and a team from Canada led the program for teens and kids.  We also had workshops on 'orality' (how to teach illiterate people Bible stories and truths), multicultural teams, a book review of "When Helping Hurts" and some less-academic events such as a 4.5-mile foot race on the beach called "Race to the Rocks", pictured above.  I guess having running events is one of the risks that come with having a field director who is a running fanatic.  

Love, Faith, and Acts of Service

21 Jan 2012

I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance.  And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.  Revelation 2:19
The believers in Thyatira were commended by Jesus for growing in good deeds. We should not only take comfort in gathering for worship or rejoice when people give their lives to Christ in our church. We should also seek to grow in love, faith, and acts of service.  
Because the times are critical, we must spend our days wisely and faithfully.  We should all long to hear Jesus say to us Well done my good and faithful servant.
Jesus, we want to grow in our service for Your Kingdom. 
May we walk out our faith. In Jesus' Name.  Amen


"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26 

Cia da Graça

10 Jan 2012

Eu visitei o projeto chamado Cia da Graça.

Este é um trabalho inter-denominacional que envolve algumas igrejas trabalhando juntas na comunidade vivendo aos redores do lixão.

As famílias moravam em barracos aos redores do lixão sem condição nenhuma de uma vida digna.

As famílias vivem da venda do lixo reciclável coletado no lixão diariamente.

O cheiro no lixão é insuportável. É até difícil descrever, é um cheiro de podridão, de enxofre, de coisa morta.

Todo o lixo é enviado para este lugar e a combinação de todo material e restos de comida libera alguma substância que faz com que haja uma fumaça constante saindo do lixo.

Tem uma água podre que sai do lixo e fica empoçada, e nessa água a gente até umas bolhas se formando constantemente.


E é nesse lugar que as pessoas passam o dia procurando por materiais que podem ser vendidos para que possam sustentar suas famílias.

É muito triste ver essa realidade dos coletadores de lixo. Algumas pessoas caminham pelo lixo sem sapatos, sem luvas, usando um gancho de metal para remover o lixo da superfície para procurar o lixo mais ao fundo que pode ser vendido.

Eu vi um homem com os pés descalços, enfaixado com um pano pois um dos pés estava com uma ferida grande. Ele andava pelo lixo, por aquela água e chão contaminados que provavelmente causarão uma enorme infecção nos pés e pelo corpo todo.

À medida que eles coletam o lixo eles os colocam em grandes sacolas para que sejam vendidos.

O governo obviamente não esse problema como prioridade para ser resolvido. Mas pelo menos fez algo para tentar melhorar um pouco a situação. Eles construíram casas na mesma área em que as famílias tinham seus barracos e entregaram às famílias.

As casas não são tão ruins mas obviamente isso não resolve o problema social dessas pessoas. Eles ainda trabalham coletando lixo pois mesmo tendo uma casa nova, não têm emprego e portanto não podem deixar o lixo.

E muitos deles vivem nessa cultura do miserável, mantendo a mentalidade do pobre. Alguns trouxeram o barraco para dentro da casa, embora tenham paredes de tijolo, mantiveram as paredes de tábua e tetos de plástico dentro da própria casa de alvenaria. Ainda sujeira e falta de higiene, crianças que não tomam banho por dias, pessoas que ainda trabalham no lixão e não viram mudança nas suas vidas por causa do recebimento da casa que o governo construiu

O projeto Cia da Graça é praticamente a única esperança deles de mudança.

A camiseta do uniforme dos líderes do projeto diz: Cia da Graça, Compartilhando o Maior Tesouro da Vida.

Esse projeto inclui várias atividades das quais algumas eu participei:

Visitas às famílias para aconselhamento, oração, bate papo, acompanhamento, etc.

Oficinas aos sábados de manhã para as mulheres que querem aprender artesanato como uma nova maneira de se sustentar. Algumas mulheres fazem tapetes, outras fazem pano de prato, outras ímãs de geladeira que podem ser vendidos para ajudar na renda mensal familiar. 

Programa para as crianças aos sábados de manhã para ensiná-las sobre Jesus, e educando a respeito de higiene, respeito, obediência, etc.

Clube da leitura que acontece de sexta-feira para despertar o amor à leitura e para entender o valor da educação e conhecimento.

Pregação da palavra de Deus, louvando e adorando, orando, testemunhando o amor de Cristo para as pessoas, caminhando juntos como irmãos na .

Doando cestas básicas mensais para as famílias cadastradas no programa.

Eu também participei da entrega de cestas de Natal que foi realizada com a ajuda de vários voluntários que foram visitar cada família em suas casas para entregar a cesta, presentes e falar da palavra de Deus.

A galerinha do grupo de adolescentes da igreja se organizou para comprar, embrulhar e entregar presentes para as crianças.

Um grande grupo de voluntários esteve no dia da entrega de cestas de Natal para quase 100 famílias.

Esse projeto vem acontecendo com poucos recursos, poucas pessoas, muitos desafios e dificuldades. Mas é um projeto abençoado por Deus pois ele está sendo feito porque é algo da vontade de Deus.  Mesmo sem muitos recursos várias famílias conheceram a Jesus e tiveram suas vidas transformadas.

A área utilizada hoje para o projeto é emprestada, não água nem energia elétrica, faltam voluntários, mas os servos do Senhor Jesus estão perseverando nessa missão de Deus.

Recentemente foi doada uma terra para o projeto para que sejam construídas instalações próprias. Até uma cerca de arame farpado foi doada e está colocada no local!

É muito importante que esse projeto continue pois a necessidade física, material, psicológica, mental e espiritual desse povo é imensa.

Favor orar para que haja apoio financeiro para a construção das novas instalações, para a compra de comida para as cestas básicas, para a compra de livros para o clube da leitura, para medicação e outras necessidades.

Ore também para o sustento dos voluntários que têm dado seu tempo para essa missão pois eles querem fazer isso em período integral e atender mais famílias, mas sem sustento não podem seguir com esse desejo de servir integralmente.

Não os voluntários que estão no projeto hoje, favor orar para que Deus levante mais gente que se sinta chamado para essa missão pois existem apenas 4 pessoas hoje que podem doar seu tempo durante a semana para cuidado espiritual das famílias. Eles atendem por volta de 70 famílias, mas mais 300 famílias morando na região que poderão ser cuidadas se houver mais gente disposta a trabalhar nessa missão.

Favor orar pelas pessoas que moram naquela região para que conheçam o senhor Jesus como seu senhor e salvador. Ore pelos que aceitaram a Jesus e para que continuem firmes na .

Mas ainda tem muita coisa a ser feita!

A Cia da Graça está com muitos planos para esse ano de 2012 e precisam de oração e apoio para que as novas etapas do programa possam ser oferecidas. Muitas oportunidades surgirão quando eles tiverem a área construída, poderão oferecer auxílio médico e dental, ministrar palestras sociais, auxiliar as pessoas a regularizarem sua documentação, colocar as crianças nas escolas e oferecer reforço escolar, oferecer aulas de esportes, alfabetização adulta e muitas outras coisas que Deus colocou nos corações dos líderes.

Eles sabem do amor de Deus por aquelas pessoas e pedem nossa oração para que o projeto continue e expanda atendendo ainda mais famílias.

Eu acredito na transformação dessa nação e de todas as outras nações do mundo se a entregarmos nas mãos de Deus e trabalharmos para a glória do nome dele.

Deus te abençoe e continue orando por nós.

“Cia da Graça”

10 Jan 2012

I have visited a Project called “Cia da Graça” (Grace Company).

This is an interdenominational project that involves a few churches working together among the less fortunate people who are living below the poverty line, in the surroundings of the dumpster area.

The families build their own houses from material that they find in the dumpster, such as pieces of wood, pieces of plastic, etc.

The living conditions in this area are really poor. The families live from the money they make from the sale of materials that they collect in the dumpster.

The dumpster smells so bad that it is even hard to describe it. It is like the worst putrid smell, a place that smells worst than sulphur.

All kinds of rubbish are dumped there and stay there for a long time, which causes a constant smoke to come out of it.

When I looked at the liquid that comes out from the rubbish and stops on the ground forming a little pool I could see little bubbles that are appear constantly probably because of the chemicals and rotten food.


And it is in this place that the people spend their whole day, searching for materials, collecting what can be sold to get some money to survive, to feed themselves.

The conditions in which they collect the materials are depressing to see. Some people walk there without shoes, they do not wear gloves, they use a stick to move the rubbish around to see if there is something deeper than the surface to be collected.

One man had his foot wounded, wrapped in some kind of fabric, and he was still walking there, putting his foot in the rotten bubbling water, probably catching a huge infection because of his wounds being opened and in contact with that water.

As they collect the rubbish they place it in the big bags to be sold to the recycling industry.

The local government does not have interest in solving this problem. But it has done something to make their lives a little bit better. They have built 2 bedroom houses in the area for the families to live in so they could leave their shanty houses.

The houses are not bad but it did not solve their social problem. They still work on the collection of materials from the dumpster because even though they have a house they still do not have a job to be able to leave the dumpster.

And many of them keep what we call “culture of the miserable” which means that their thinking is as if they were still miserable, as if they were living in the shanty houses, they act like miserable people. Many brought back inside the houses all the materials from the rubbish. Even though they have a brick house, they keep the wood walls and the plastic roof inside the new house. The dirtiness, the lack of hygiene and the miserable living conditions continue the same. They brought the shanty house inside the brick house! They still work in the dumpster and not much has changed for them.

The project “Cia da Graça” is pretty much their only hope for change. Their uniform T-shirt says: Cia da Graça, Compartilhando o maior tesouro da vida (Grace Company, sharing the biggest treasure of our life).

The project includes many ways of help (I had visited the project during 4 days to see a little bit of each area):

Weekly visits to the families for counseling, praying, talking, encouraging, etc.

Workshops for women every Saturday morning to teach them a new way of earning their money, such as making floor mats, making tea towels, making fridge magnets, etc.

Kids program every Saturday morning to teach them about Jesus, and also talking about hygiene, about respect, about obedience, etc.

Reading club for children every Friday afternoon to encourage kids to read books and to make them understand the value of education.

Preaching the word of God, praising God with music, praying together, witnessing the love of Jesus to them, walking with them through life.

Giving away a monthly basket with basic food and materials (rice, beans, flour, oil, salt, sugar, milk, etc).

One of the visits that I have participated of was to a lady’s house to give her a new oven which has been donated by a Christian person to the project.

This lady has been part of the project for a while, she goes to every workshop on Saturdays, she does not work in the dumpster, she attends church every weekend, her kids are in the reading club program, they are followers of Jesus and they are a testimony of the love of Jesus to those people around them.

A long time ago she told one of the leaders that her dream was to learn how to bake bread so she could bake it for her family and also sell the bread to earn some money.

And the day arrived when she received a new oven so she could bake bread at home.

The leaders also brought ingredients, a recipe and taught her how to make the bread.

It was such a happy day for her and for us.

She had a stove that had a broken oven. With the replacement for a better one, she donated her working stove to another lady from the community. She was blessed with a new stove-oven and she decided to bless someone else with her old stove.

And I also went there once more for the Christmas celebration, when we have gone to each of the houses to give a Christmas present, food for their Christmas supper and a word about the love of Jesus.

The youth group from the church has organized the purchase and packing of children’s toys to give away for Christmas.

A big group of volunteers went there to help giving away the presents to 100 families.

One thing that you can see from this project is that Brazilians do not wait to have all resources and circumstances to start doing something. Other cultures prefer to have everything organized before starting something but our culture is different, we are people who like doing things. We start working even though everyone else would have said that there are no conditions to start working because we know that God has called us to do it. Then while the project is going on we pray that God will provide the rest and we do not stop if it takes a while to be organized.

That is how it happens. This project has been running for quite a while without a land or proper place, without water or electricity, without financial support, without lots of volunteers, without materials. But the few volunteers there know that God has called them to do this work and they love the people there. It is more important for them to share the love of Jesus with the people under a tree than to wait for some bureaucratic process of getting a room to teach them.

 And God has blessed them so much! They have helped and saved many lives there. Many people are out of the dumpster, out of alcohol and drugs, living a life of dignity and respect for themselves.

And recently they have been blessed with a donation of a land nearby for them to build an area to teach, preach and keep the project going. Even the fence has been given to them.

It is very important that this project continues because the needs are huge.

Please pray for financial resources for the building of the centre, for purchase of food, books, medication, for the maintenance of its volunteers, and other needs.

Please pray for more full time workers because there are only 4 people able to give their half day to this project. All of them are praying to be able to give full time to this but they need financial support to be able to leave their jobs. At the moment they look after 100 families, but there are 400 families living there, so they need many more people to help looking after them.

Please pray for the families who are in the program because many have suffered a lot and still suffer because of poverty, family issues, health issues, violence from drug trafficking , domestic violence, and other problems. Many have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and they have been transformed. Praise the Lord for this!

But there is a lot to do!

They have many plans for this year, such as offering medical and dental services, seminars, offering service of taking people’s IDs (many do not have any documentation at all), helping the families to put their children in schools (many do not go to school), teaching them to grow food, offering sports classes, teaching adults to read, and other dreams they have for those people.

They know that their dreams come from God’s heart and they ask us to pray for them to see those things happening in Jesus’ name.

I believe in the transformation of this nation and every other nation in the world as we put them in God’s hands. Keep praying!

God bless you and thank you for praying for us.


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