Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #4

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

Hand ReachingThere are people out there who might perish because they’ve never heard the name Jesus before.

In Romans chapter 10, we find quite possibly the single most important reason to go on a mission trip.   Beginning with verse 13, it states, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

But how can people be saved if they’ve never heard the name of Jesus before? 

In verse 14 and 15, Paul was essentially asking the church in Rome the same question: 

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?” 

We must ask ourselves:  Why is it taking so long for us to spread God’s Word to others who might not otherwise ever get the opportunity to hear the gospel?  I believe the answer can be found in 2 Pet. 3: 9, where Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”   (2 Pet. 3: 9 ESV)

It is not God’s desire that anyone should perish.  However, because he is patient with us, he would never force his will on us either.  What it all boils down to is that we are left with a choice.  We have to choose whether we will become Christ’s ambassadors.  Unfortunately, the fleshly nature often wins out over our willingness to see things from God’s perspective and we forget that we have been bought with a price. 

Since we know that it is not God’s will for anyone to perish, I believe that he is patiently waiting for each and every one of us to say, “Here I am, Lord.  Send me.”

Photo by jam343

To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Kazakhstan: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Lizbeth Pereira |


Photo by dmitry.papkovich


mapLocation: Central Asia, bordered by Russia, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China.

Capital: Astana

Climate: Continental climate, arid to semi-arid with hot summers and cold winters.

Population: 15,399,437 according to July 2009 estimates. About 13.8% of the population live below poverty line and there’s an unemployment rate of 6.9%. Kazakhstan economy is based on their large reserves of fossil fuels, mineral deposits, agriculture, livestock, and metal industry.

Ethnic Make-up: Kazakh 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Tartar 1.7%, Uygur 1.4%, Others 4.9%.

traditional girlReligions: Islam (Sunni) 57%, Christianity (Russian Orthodox) 40%, Others 3%. The Constitution guarantees freedom to practice all religions. Proselytising is not illegal, but may be carried out subject to certain official procedures. Foreign missionaries intending to engage in proselytising have to be registered with the Migration Police and obtain permission to do so, indicating purpose of stay in the country, religious affiliation, territory of missionary work, and time period required for work. Failure to do this might invite prosecution and fines. Registration needs to be renewed annually.

Language: Kazakh 64.4%, Russian 95%. Kazakh is the State language, but Russian is the official language used for social and business transactions by the majority of the population.

Government: Republic.

Travel Issues: Travel to Kazakhstan requires a passport with at least a six month validity and a Kazakh visa. All foreign travellers arriving in Kazakhstan have to register with the local police within five days of arrival. Those arriving from the UK intending to stay for less than 30 days are exempt from this obligation; however, please check to see if rules have changed. Visitors intending to stay for long periods need to produce a certificate stating they are free of HIV/AIDS.

Health & Safety: Those traveling to Kazakhstan might need to take precautions against Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever vaccination might be required if travelling from or through an infected region in the recent past. Use bottled water for drinking and washing purposes, and eat only well cooked food.

Photo by sly06


catThe People
Kazakh people live in a beautiful untainted land following an uncomplicated down-to-earth lifestyle. If they own a camel, a horse, and some cows they are content and consider themselves blessed. They live in makeshift homes made of felt called yurts which can be taken down in half an hour and carted away to another location. Their community is made up of interdependent tribes descended from a common ancestor living in happy co-existence. Though patriarchal when compared to western standards, women have an important role in the home and in the community which they guard fiercely just as men take care of their business of protecting and providing for their families.

kmanThe Religion
The major religion in Kazakhstan is Islam. However, there is a large percentage that practice Christianity under the Russian Orthodox denomination. There are smaller groups of Protestants and Roman Catholics in addition to other denominations such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Grace Church, and Baptists. Christianity is observed by immigrants from Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia, while ethnic Kazakhs are mostly Muslims.

Role of Family
Kazakh family traditions are followed stringently from ancient times. After marriage, the newly weds live with the groom’s parents for a year. This is when the daughter-in-law undergoes training to become a good wife and housekeeper. By the time the first born arrives, she is deemed worthy of running her own home and is set up with a yurt, camels, cows, and horses donated by both families. Even if they live separate from the parents, the oldest male member is one who governs all and makes all important decisions. Older family members are very generous to the younger members and help considerably in terms of childcare, food, and farm animals.

Ancestors, both dead and alive, are revered by the Kazakhs with a great deal of devotion. They have a saying which sums it all up, “If your dead ancestors are not satisfied with you, you won’t be rich”. Thus, they have elaborate funeral and mourning rituals that spread over a length of time and prayers for the dead every year before Ramadan.

Recreational Activities
Kazakhstan has a lot of spas and natural springs that visitors find very attractive. For the locals, horse riding and other related sports are a passion. Kazaksha kures (wrestling), baiga (horse racing), alty bakan (six pole swing), and kokpar (polo played with a dead goat) are some local sport.

Anything else important for this culture
Being punctual is a virtue, but it is almost never adhered to. Kazakhs do not see the point in fixing appointments and may just walk in and meet you; the plus point being you can do the same. Avoid this if you’re on a business meeting. Social hierarchy places age before all, then men, women and children. This means an elderly woman has the power to boss over the menfolk and will not be denied this due to her gender. Women have equality in the workplace and will be respected for her position in spite of gender. Women are fiercely protective of their home and will not tolerate men interfering in housework. Women wearing masculine attire and smoke are looked down upon.

Photo by Irene2005


dancersMeetings & Greetings
Men greet each other with a handshake and with both hands clasping the other’s hand if the relationship is close. Women may just smile and nod or shake hands lightly. Close relatives will hug and kiss on the cheeks. When greeting the opposite gender, it is wise to take the cue from the lady depending on whether she is happy to smile a greeting or shake hands. Greeting religious figures should be restricted to a slight reverent bow and no touching.

Society is hierarchical and seniority is always shown a lot of respect. Always let the older person begin and dominate conversations.

camel milkGift Giving
Gift giving does not follow any strict rules but flowers, chocolates and quality wines are all considered appropriate. However, do not gift alcohol to Muslims, even if you think they imbibe. When giving a gift be prepared to be given something in return.

Dress Code
Western attire is considered acceptable, though women tend to avoid masculine clothes such as boots or cowboy hats. Kazakhs love their shoes and it is a sign of their class. Women don’t normally favour sneakers or flip flops and mostly wear elegant stilettos and other high heels. Men sport dandy, pointy shoes polished to perfection. Short shorts and tight tees are generally not acceptable.

Dining Etiquette
Dining may be seated on floors or on furniture depending on the location. if in a rural setting, you may be seated on the floor and eat with your hands with the food being served from communal bowls. Lamb will be on the menu and may even be in form of the whole head which is then proceeded to be taken apart with various pieces assigned to the guests based on rank, ending with children getting the ears.

Visiting a home
If offered a boiled sheep’s head on an ornate dish, it is a sign of great respect and should be accepted with appreciation. This is only offered to the oldest member or a distinguished guest. Young people whose parents are alive are spared the ordeal of cutting it open, and so, it can be passed around for somebody else to do the honours. Tea will be served half-filled as a full cup is considered ill-mannered. Bread is considered sacred and should not be left over. However, when you’ve had your fill, leave a bit of left-overs or you will be served repeatedly. It would be good form to bring along a token gift in the form of pastries or chocolates for the occasion.

Photo by culater251

Communication Style
Communication style often differs with ethnicity. With those of Russian ethnicity you may expect a certain bluntness and openness while ethnic Kazakhs rarely always maintain an indirect style. Most Kazakhs speak English, but it might sound a tad imperative even if they are only suggesting something.

Dos and Don’ts
Drive on the right side of the road. Religion, ethnicity, and politics are touchy topics with even close acquaintances and should never be discussed with strangers you may have just met. Do not hook two fingers together or put your thumb between your index and middle finger as these gestures are considered obscene. Do not ask after the welfare of a sick person in the evenings.

man with hat, cathedral, camel milk by sly06
traditional girl culater251
dancers by hello alisa
camel, yurt by Irene2005


Mission Trip Possible: Reason #3

by Lori McCarthy |


globeWe are all called to be a part of the Great Commission.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’ve probably heard this before.  But just in case it didn’t sink in the first time, I’ll say it again.  As Christians, we have all been called to be a part of the Great Commission.  In fact, the last thing that Jesus said after he reappeared to the disciples was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28: 18-20) 

If he called his twelve disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, obviously he meant for those disciples to go make disciples and in turn teach them to go and make more disciples, and so on and so forth until finally the gospel is spread to the ends of the earth.  God’s Word says, “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1: 8 NIV)

You see, he wasn’t just calling his twelve disciples to go.  He wasn’t just calling the preachers to go.  He was calling all of us.  He was calling you and me.  I often wonder if it grieves the heart of God to know that so many of us turn a deaf ear to Jesus and simply choose to ignore the call.  

Just as Jonah found out when he was called to go to the Ninevites, in a sense I believe to ignore the call would be considered the same thing as disobedience.  Thankfully, we have a Savior who is very near to all of us and has already paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, which is why we should be ecstatic about heeding the call in the first place.    


To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Modern Day Mission Songs

by Melissa Chang |

Mission Songs

rock concertFinding songs about missions isn’t as easy as you would think. It’s actually downright difficult. If you’ve ever tried to find a song to accompany your missions slide show or to play during your missions church service, you know that there isn’t the biggest selection.  At least that what it seems like when you keep coming across the same ones over and over that seem to have been written eons ago.  But actually, there are a few new songs out there that are pretty cool.

So to save you some search time, we’ve decided to make a list that lets you view some of what is out there. Some of these you have heard of before, but we hope that many of these are completely new to you. Also, we only picked songs released since the year 2000 to keep it fresh. We also only included songs that are specifically about missions or missionaries. We are including links to a place you can listen to a sample or view the lyrics if they are availalble. These are listed from newest to oldest. Hopefully, you will find some cool new mission songs that you will really love.

Matt Papa – Here Am I, Send Me

Album: Your Kingdom Come-2009
Listen to MP3
Style:Modern Rock
This album has just been released. The song has a great groove and sounds awesome. It kind of reminds me of a mix between the Fray and Tim Hughes.

Downhere – Here I Am

Album: Ending is Beginning-2008
Listen to MP3
Style: Modern Rock
This song has a rock anthem type feel. It kind reminds me of Casting Crowns, 3rd Day, and a little DC Talk. 

Starfield – I Will Go

Album: I Will Go-2008
Listen to MP3
Style: Modern Rock/Hard Rock
This song starts out with a heavy electric riff  reminiscent of Switchfoot. It then calms down really nicely to being a very touching song. I actually played it at my own missions slide show. I love this song. Catchy, edgy and touching.

Avalon – For the Sake of the Call

Album: Another Time Another Place-2008
Listen to MP3
Style: Pop
This song is a remake of the classic by Steven Curtis Chapman.  I was glad to see a remake because the lyrics are outstanding although the tune might be a bit dated. 

Drew Cline – To the Ends of the Earth

Album: Way of Life-2007
Listen to MP3
Style: Rock
This song is fast paced with great riffs and a catchy tune. Drew himself has a great rock/country voice with a deep gravely sound that is fun to listen to.

Tim Hughes – God of Justice

Album: Holding Nothing Back-2007
Listen to MP3
Style: Worship
One of the more quiet and moving songs on the list, this song really feels like a form of worship as Tim sings “Jesus, You have called us…we must go.”

Scott Krippayne – Willing

Album: Better than Life-2007
Listen to MP3
Style: Rock/Pop
This song comes from an album created to represent real people who suffered for their faith. Although not necessarily about missionaries specifically, the lyrics, “Are you willing to die for the things you believe in?” are very inspirational and relevant. The song is catchy and has great vocals. 

Shannon Wexelberg – Send Me

Album: Better Than Life-2007
Listen to MP3
Style: Inpirational/Gospel
This song is a group effort featuring Shannon Wexelberg, along with Scott Krippayne and Charles Billingsley. It has a has a definite gospelish feel with some amazing vocals. This song is also included on the Better Than Life album.

Building 429 – Fearless

Album: Rise-2006
Listen to MP3
Style: Modern Rock/Hard Rock
This song was actually written to honor the Travel the Road missionaries. If you haven’t heard of Travel the Road, it is this very cool reality series about 2 missionaries who travel the world for years at a time, filming their activities.  For a while, Building 429 toured with Travel the Road as they preached and Building 429 played. The song’s lyrics are more subtle than other songs, but it definitely rocks.

Lecrae – Send Me

Album: After the Music Stops-2006
Listen to MP3
Style: Rap/Hip Hop
This song is totally unique and refreshing in that it is the only rap missions song on our list. It has a very intense almost marching rythm to it as the Lecrae raps, “Send me, I’ll go. Let me go Let me go”

Delirious – Here I Am, Send Me

Album: The Mission Bell-2005
Listen to MP3
Style: Pop Rock/Punk
This song has a jingling lilt to it which makes it sounds more popish than Delirious’s earlier songs. This song is unusual in that it actually references Isaiah, Ezeikel, Jacob and Paul, and mixes the ideas of seeing a vision to wanting to be sent.

Steven Curtis Chapman – Coming Attractions

Album: All Things New-2004
Listen to MP3
Style: Pop/Rock
Steven Curtis Chapman has been around for a long time, but he is always making things fresh and new. This song has a very cool sound that mixes amazing acoustic guitar rythms with a modern ethereal sound. The song is very inspirational with a big chorus. I have used this one myself in the past.

Matt Redman – Mission’s Flame

Album: Facedown-2003
Listen to MP3
Style: Worship
This song is another worship song singing “Let worship be the fuel of missions’ flame.” It is classic sounding Matt Redman.

Jonah33 – Working Man Hands

Album: Jonah33-2004
Listen to MP3
Style: Rock
The lead singer sounds a bit to me like Third Day. The song has a rock beat but a slow tempo. The words say, “Give me what it takes. Let me go.”

Michael Bleecker – Here I Am

Album: Village Worship-2002
Listen to MP3
Style: Acoustic Guitar
It doesn’t seem as though this singer has an album of his own that I can find. However, when searching for missions songs I came across a video of his song, and it really made me want to worship and to GO. This song is amazing and worth a look. I think you can purchase his music on a worship album from his church.

Mercy Me – Go

Album: Spoken For-2002
Listen to MP3
Style: Rock
This song has a really great message, with classic Mercy Me rock beats. “There’s so many left to tell that You came for one and all. Use me.”

Hillsong – To the Ends of the Earth

Album: United:To the Ends of the Earth-2002
Listen to MP3
Style: Worship
Hillsong always puts out some very inspirational songs that make you want to worship. This song is typical Hillsong, along with the lyrics “I would give the world to tell Your story.”

Mercy Me- Here Am I

Album: Almost There-2001
Listen to MP3
Style: Rock
This is Mercy Me’s number 2 song on the missions list, so kudos to them for focusing on missions. I like the take on this song which highlights those who have never heard. “Never been told the name of Jesus. What a shame.”

Audio Adrenaline – Hands and Feet

Album: Underdog-1999
Listen to MP3
Style: Pop Rock
This is our oldest song on the list, but it doesn’t sound that way. We figured we had to fit it in even though it just misses the year 2000 cut off. It has a very catchy pop rock feel.


Have anything to add? Just put it in the comment section to add to the collection. 

Photo by duluoz cats

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #2 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

berber2To travel the world and learn about other people and their cultural beliefs.

Does this sound like you?

You’ve always dreamed of being able to travel the world. You’d like to travel to remote areas of the world and see exotic places. You’d like to learn about other people. You’re interested in seeing how they live and finding out what’s important to them. You’d enjoy learning to speak their language to see if you can somehow make a connection. You’d like to sample their food and their culture. And even more importantly, you’d like to find out what they believe in. Maybe you even have a heart to reach the lost and hurting, or those suffering from extreme poverty, disease, or affliction.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

All of this and more can be yours and more should you decide to become a part of this great adventure called “missionary work.”

Okay, so there is work involved, but just think of it. Picture this: At the end of the day you are filled with the deep satisfaction of knowing that you actually helped someone. Perhaps you were Jesus with skin on to an orphan, or you helped plant a new Bible-believing church somewhere where there were previously none. Or perhaps you even feel a renewed sense of purpose knowing that you just watched several people give their lives to Christ after watching a Jesus film.

After all,

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)

So what’s stopping you from living the incredible life that God intended you to have? A life so full of adventure, wonder and purpose, it’s far too wonderful to describe? The only thing that is stopping you, my friend, is you.


Tune in next week to read Reason # 3: Because as Christians, we’ve been called to be a part of the Great Commission.

To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Photo by Simple Insomnia

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #1 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

girl 2To prove to all the naysayers that I can.

First, let me say that this is not my top reason for wanting to go on a mission trip. However, call it the rebel within me, but whenever someone tries to tell me that there’s something I can’t do it makes me want to prove to them all the more that I can. In addition, if I truly believe that “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26 NIV) and it’s God’s will for me to go, then I must also believe that God will ultimately provide everything I need to go. Besides, there’s a part of me that hopes my determination to go will eventually speak volumes to those who are already convinced that they can’t.

Why climb Mount Everest? Because it’s there? To prove that you can, right? Same thing holds true with mission trips. Therefore, just like The Little Engine that believed he could, I’m going to keep on telling myself, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can” until it finally becomes “I know I can,” “I know I can.” After all, if I don’t that believe I can go, who will?” How do I believe? First I have faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Rom. 10:17)

To be able to go on a mission trip you must first believe. What do I believe?

I believe that God chooses “the foolish things of this world to shame the wise.” (1 Cor. 1:27) Since I most definitely fall into that category, why wouldn’t he choose me to go?  

I believe God can take one ordinary, sold out person and use him or her to accomplish extraordinary things. He did it time after time in the Bible, and he can do the same with you and me today.

To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Mission Trip Possible: My Top 12 Reasons Why You Should Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

shadesBack by popular demand…Lori McCarthy!

To go or not to go, that is the question.  Now that you’ve heard all of the lame excuses I’ve used over the years for not going on a mission trip, I thought it only fair that I follow them up with my top twelve reasons why you should go.  After all, even though I’ve exposed all of the lies that Satan tries to use to fill our minds with doubt as far as reasons why we shouldn’t go, perhaps like me you’ve lost your initial vision and need just a bit more convincing before you decide you should go.  So here I am again, back by popular demand.  This time I’m going to lay out my top twelve reasons why you and I should go on a mission trip.  After all, there should be more reasons to go than not to go.  And besides, I couldn’t pick just ten.

My Top 12 Reasons You Should Go on a Mission Trip: 

  1. To prove to all the naysayers that I can.
  2. To travel the world and learn about other people and their cultural beliefs.
  3. Because as Christians, we’ve been called to be a part of the Great Commission.
  4. Because there are people out there who might perish because they’ve never heard of the name Jesus before.
  5. Because it’s a great way to make a difference for all eternity.
  6. Because the need is so great.
  7. Because it was Jesus’ last command.
  8. Because it often benefits us more than the people we are ministering to.
  9. Because God promises you will be blessed beyond all measure.
  10. To speed up the day of Jesus’ return.
  11. Because we’re so grateful for what Jesus has done for us that we want to share the good news with others. 
  12. Because when I’m standing face to face with Jesus, I want hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!

 Stay tuned later this week for reason number one…

Photo by andronicusmax


Letter from a Navajo Missionary

by Melissa Chang |

Native America, North America


I hardly know where to start. We have been here for almost 9 years now. My husband is a full blood Seminole/Creek indian, born traditional and raised to become a medicine man. But was blessed enough to meet the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 19 and it changed his life. We were raised in Christ in OKC at Maranatha Baptist Church of Western Oaks. Later, during a Teen Mission trip my husband took out here…he saw a great need and prayed for God to call one of the teenagers back out here one day. The Lord, of course, told him…”no, its you who will go”  So after Bible college we went on 3 years of deputation and headed to the Mission field.

He has two churches started here. One is in a primitive part of the Reservation (Red Valley, Az) where there are still folks living in hogans and using outhouses ect. The children out there are very neglected (for the most part) and the percentage of sexual abuse is outrageous, mostly due to alcoholism and witchcraft. We also had a church in Beclabito, New Mexico but the land was taken from us and we recently moved the church building (double wide trailer) to Shiprock, New Mexico. Its the largest town on the Navajo Nation with over 10,000 Natives here. 300,000 all together on our reservation, touching 4 states..New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.  Its the size of West Virginia..its just amazing.

There are so many ministries started here and too much to really talk about in just a note…so I will just touch on a few things. We have 7 kids active in the ministry with us.

We started the adoption process about 2 months ago and were approved to adopt a Navajo child. We are just going through the next phase in the process, and hope to be through all the paperwork and ready by November.

Bobby preaches in the Senior Citizens center once a week, the jail twice a week, preaches in the Red Valley church, and is getting the Shiprock church hooked up on the new land right now. He gets a lot of calls to preach in supporting churches across the country, some colleges ect. Its a very busy life. He also had 1 year of Bible Club in the public school in Red Valley and so many other little things that I can’t keep track. We have to just go one day at a time. We have a couple of men that he is training right now that help him in a lot of these ministries.

If you want to know more, maybe you can ask pointed questions. My life is an open book. Our web pages need updated but they are at http://www.geocities.com/bobbyharjo but our blog, which is updated more frequently is at http://kjvindian.blogspot.com/ there are some pictures and things on there.

I try to make things as public as possible, because we have a lot of summer groups come out. You know, like they do down in Mexico. They like to take Mission trips that seem like a foreign mission field but don’t cost as much as traveling over seas. I didn’t bargain for that part of the ministry…cooking for so many people for a week at a time. But its been quite a blessing and a great tool to help church members fall in love with missions.

Anyway, I have a lot to do. So feel free to write when you are able.

Love in Christ,

Sis Micki Harjo


Photo by Wolfgang Staudt

Contextualization in South India

by Heather Carr |

Contextualization in Missions, India

flameChristians have long expressed thanksgiving and praise to our God through worship. The Father is often glorified with shouts of “amen,” and “hallelujah.” Times of prayer and reflection offer us an opportunity to consider the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. Offerings are also typical, but do not always require a checkbook. South Indian Christians have found new ways to adapt some old customs into their worship of the Lord.

In South India, some Christians have adapted the traditional Hindu act of worship known as Parikrama into their worship services. Christian worshipers walk slowly around a mandala, which is a space decorated with flowers and stones traditionally used as an aid to meditation. Once a symbol of the universe, the mandala has taken on a new meaning among the South Indian Christian community as a representation of the Holy of Holies.

The people of the congregation walk meditatively around the mandala, holding their heads slightly bowed in honor of the divinity that is in our God. Their hands are held clasped together in a traditional salutation known as the sign of Namaskar.

Gifts are left in offering as a part of the Parikrama ceremony. Flowers or other representations of God’s beautiful creation are left around the mandala. The Christian community in South India has successfully married tradition and truth through the modern Parikrama. Thanksgiving, praise and offering are raised to the Lord through this unique act of worship.

Photo by ms Belvedere

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