Monday, May 16, 2016

This week was filled with so many miracles its insane!

 Elder Benson and I have been talking with as many people as we can find to find the ones that really want the gospel in their lives and we have found a few that seemed promising but it seems like every person just kind of fell through. This week though we had a couple of things to look to to get some new people to teach and work with. There was a vårfest (spring party or whatever you want to call it.) and some members that we were going to serve during the week. We saw amazing things from both of them.

We went early on in the week to a members house to visit and to help her with some things that she needed help with. The other elders painted and she asked me to build a fence so that her new dog wouldnt get out... that was a lot of trust put in me but it went pretty well and we built a fence so that was cool. But the really exciting thing was to hear and help her with the missionary work that she has been doing. She has several friends that she is inviting to hear the gospel and later on this week we will have the pleasure of meeting and teaching one of them which is really exciting! We had another lady in the ward that invited us over to teach one of her friends this week and that went incredibly well. She is such a good missionary and her friend loved the things that we had to say and she even came later on in the week to the party in the church. So big things are starting to happen with the member missionary work and that kind is probably my favorite and the most effective. These people trust their friends and it really means a lot to people that their friends are willing to share that part of their lives. Its cool to see and be a part of. I think that many people are scared to share it with other people but it really means a lot to people to know that their friends care and thats really all it is. It is an act of love to share the things that have helped you in your own life and try to help the people that you also care about. That is exactly what these members are doing and it affects their friends and their own families and it affects us as missionaries and you can see their testimonies grow as a result.

The party was another thing that we wanted to focus on this week to try and get people to and get them introduced to the church in a non threatening way and get to know the members when they are just having a good time. I love that kind of thing because on Sundays some people might think that we are just a little "up tight" but really most everyone loves to have fun but maybe just not in the same way in sacrament meeting. Everyone that we talked to this week was revolved around getting them to that party and there were a ton of people there that were not members of the church! A lot that members had invited and people that we had met earlier on the street. We specifically met one lady on the bus toward the church and she is a single mother with the cutest three year old youve probably seen in your life. We talked to her and invited her to come and she came! It was perfect because the party was put on by some of the members of the ward from south america and she is also from there so it was fun for her to speak spanish again and get to have a little taste of south america in Sweden. We will be teaching her later on in the week and she was talking to us and just was so grateful that we had invited her and said that the ward was just like a big family and everyone seems to just love each other and she loved that. It is so important to love the people that are around us and in our wards. When we say brother and sister we should really mean it and be willing to love them and bear their burdens and help them when they need it. Its a part of being a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is probably one of the most important things that we can do. In a world where people care less and less about each other it means a lot that we do.

We also have a family home evening every week in a city right outside of Karlskrona in Ronneby and that has been something that we have been able to get together with some members out there and strengthen them and get our investigators to. It helps them to get to know the members and provides a non threatening environment for us to teach and help people understand the gospel in a deeper way. We had a man that we had met on the street there come to that family home evening and we have started to teach him as well more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and that was another miracle that we saw out of this week. I think it is so important to share everything we can with the people around us and just genuinely care for them. Its the same in everything that we do, in home teaching, in church, the the home, in the workplace. We have to care for the people otherwise change is impossible both in them and in ourselves.

We had a specialized zone training this week as well in Malmö so we traveled down to the southern tip of Sweden. It was a little unreal because it was my last training that I am going to have by the Beckstrands and they have been really special both to this mission and to me in my own life. I also, renewed my temple recommend because that had expired... its hard to believe that it has gone by so fast but it has and I now have about a week left in my mission. I am so unbelievably grateful for the experiences that I have been able to have here and the people that I have had the pleasure to meet. Im sure more experiences await in the next week of teaching and serving but there is a lifetime and an eternity of being able to do that after as well. I know that my Redeemer lives, and I know that this is His work and it has been my joy and pleasure to be able to serve in this capacity in this beautiful land. There is nothing better that anyone could be involved in and I will be forever grateful for my opportunity.

Love you all,
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We just had a fantastic week!

We had a little bit more time to find this week than normal because we had 8 people that made appointments and didnt end up showing up so that was fun haha but we did find a lot of new people to teach and its always an exciting time to see the hand of God in leading us to the people that really need it. For example, we had an appointment with a new investigator at the library during the week and we had confirmed with them the night before and the day of they didnt show upå or answer their phone... So we felt like we needed to find someone else instead and so we went out into the square and in the city right outside and elder Benson looked at a man and said "that guy right there" so we went and talked to him... he wasnt interested... However the man that walked around the corner right after that was very interested! He is from Ireland and had talked with missionaries a little bit before. It was interesting talking to him in English about the gospel but it went really well and we are going to meet with him soon at the beginning of this upcoming week. Its funny how things happen and how we really are put into the way of people that need to hear the message in one way or another. We actually had a bunch of experiences just like that this week and I know that the reason we have those experiences are to help the children of God that are looking for the truth and "are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." 

We have been doing our best to work with the ward and try to have them do their own missionary work which they are absolutely fantastic about. There are some amazing member missionaries here and when they dont have their own friends that are interested they are more than willing to help with the people that we bring with us to church which is such a blessing. We had the honor of being with a family this week in a place called Bergkvara which is a little ways from Karlskrona and eat some lunch with them and talk with them about their missionary work. I met this family on Gotland about a year ago when they were there on vacation and so it was great to be able to see them again when I came to Karlskrona. What I have come to know is that everyone has their own stories and things with the gospel and their story is pretty amazing about his missionary service and how they had met later on in their lives and she became a member of the church when they got married. The Lord works in interesting ways but He is always working in the lives of all of us that much I can promise. 

On Saturday this week we had a baptism here from a nearby branch from Växjö. I was on splits the other week and had the privilege to teach her while I was there so it was fun to be able to see her baptized in our font here. We were able to get some less actives and other members in the church to be there to support her. I love going to baptisms because the ordinance is so simple but it so beautiful to see people taking that first step closer to our Heavenly Father. It is so humbling that He has given that authority to the Earth to help His children to come closer to Him and everytime I see someone do that there is a special spirit that is there testifying to everyone there that the restoration is a reality, giving the person being baptized comfort for the journey that they are about to embark on and maybe that same comfort to those who have been on the path a little longer that the same spirit is with them as well to lift them and strengthen them on their pathway of enduring to the end. It really is special. If there is a baptism that you have the opportunity to be at... be there! It will help you and whoever it is that is being baptized even if you dont know them I promise. 

In church, the missionaries were asked to sing with the primary children "Book of Mormon Stories" so we got to stand on the stand with them and sing the best childrens song ever with all of the kids. It was actually a really cool experience and one that I wont forget for awhile. I love the things that we can learn in church from those called to teach and talk and even just pass the sacrament. Its so cool to see the gospel and the church work in harmony. Boyd K. Packer gave a talk where he talked about just that. The gospel is like a giant keyboard and if we use all of it we can have beautiful melodies and harmonies but if we sit there hitting one note over and over it gets pretty dissonant. There are so many aspects of the gospel and they are all important to have. It is so important for us to have all of those things together in one. I love this gospel and the opportunities that it presents for us and the joy that we receive from it as we live after the things that we know are true. I am so grateful for my mission and the things that I have learned and continue to learn. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the kingdom of God on the Earth today. For those that are in it and have that conviction, great, live after that and invite others. For those who are in the church and do not know or do not have that conviction, find it and share it. And for those that are not members of the church my simple invitation is to find out because the blessings that I have received are fantastic and I am so grateful for them. There is a way back to our Heavenly Father and to his son, back to our Heavenly home and this is it. Have a great week and know that we will be working hard in Karlskrona having the time of our lives! Love you all!

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Another One For the Books, Valborg, Bonfires on the Beach and Fast and Testimony Meeting!

Another one for the books!

We are seeing a lot of cool things come out of the woodworks and the work that we are trying to put in here in Karlskrona. We are seeing quite a few more people that we are finding that are interested in the gospel and members trust is more to help them with the things that they need. For example, we Went out in the middle of nowhere (not too far outside of the city haha) to a family that lives on their own Little farm. We helped them change out the straw for the year so basically the "Litter box" for their sheep and things for the past year. Im not sure I have smelt that bad for a long time but it was an awesome opportunity to work hard and to do some service. In other news I held a baby lamb that was born not too long ago... I guess I can check that one off of the bucket list. We also helped Another less Active to hack down the tree that we had cut last week into firewood and make her yard look like a yard again and not like a war zone so that was also really fun and I didnt kill myself with the ax which is Another big plus.

Elder Benson and I have really been trying to find the prepared which last week and for the past couple has meant making sure people know the expectation and why we meet and that we want to help them become baptized. Doing that helps people so much to progress... or to decide that it is not something that they want to be working toward. So we have had a Little more time this week to find people and try to find the ones who are interested in taking that step and being commited. It has actually been really cool to see what has come of it and the people that we have been able to find. We found and then met a younger Swede this week who loves the things that we have to say and is really interested. She herself is really spiritual but doesnt really know the meaning of any of it. So we have started to teach her about the restoration and the book of Mormon which is by far the thing that I like to teach most because the spirit is so strong whenever we talk about it. To me it has become a lot more clear why the need for a restoration is so appartent and why it is so real. Without a restoration there would be no revelation and without revelation Life would be a lot harder and we would have no where to go. Just like this girl we might be spiritual and understand that there is "something" but not have any clue what that "something" is. How lucky we are to know exactly what the something is and what it all means and implies for us!

Later on in the week we also had a day called Valborg where we dont have to proselyte after 5 and celebrate. So we got some members and investigators together and celebrated. There was a mens Choir that performed some Classic Swedish songs in the Town Square and then a big Bonfire on the beach and it was Beautiful! We were soaking up every minute and it was a fantastic opportunity for our members to get to know some of the people that we ahve been teaching and visa versa. The fire was huge and we felt some Swedish patriotism honestly for the first time in a long time and it felt good. Sverige är bäst!

On Sunday it was time for a fast and testimony meeting and I love the opportunity that we have every month to get up and to bear our testimonies for the wards. Our testimonies are interesting things but they grow the most when we share them with other people and see the reality of them in our own Life. That is why I am so grateful for this mission becasue it has taught me to build and bear my testimony. I love this gospel and I know that it is true. Just like Nephi "I don't know the meaning of all things" but I do know that Jesus Christ is the head of this work and subsequently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and each and every one of the members as long as they live worthy and seek diligently his will and guidance. I will Always cherish that knowledge and the things that I have come to know while I have been here. I love it and I love Sweden!

Have a good week :)
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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zone Training in Malmö this Week, Cut Down a Tree, Another Cello and Piano Duet, and Allow Yourself to Listen

What a good week! There was a lot that went on and a lot of crazy experiences that we had. We had a lesson with a guy named Filip at the beginning of the week who is a teenage swede who believes in God and in Jesus Christ but was super interested to hear about the Book of Mormon and we were able to tell him more about that just in the library in Stan which was really cool we will see where that goes. We also taught Angelika who is looking to be baptized with her friend fairly soon into the church. We taught about the word of wisdom and that is always a fun one to go with because so many people are doing things that may or may not be in line with the word of wisdom. They both have committed to following the commandments and its super cool to see them progress in the gospel and see them reading the book of Mormon and applying the things that they read and come with questions and look for the answers that they have been seeking to spiritual questions that they have been having for a really long time.

That next day we helped a less active with some yard work and we cut down a giant tree in her yard... coolest thing ever and I was so sore and tired after that but it was worth a couple of blisters. We enjoyed ourselves there and we know that they wouldn't be able to do things that need to be done on their own and so it is a privilege to be able to help out and see the blessings that come from that. We have also had a few investigators recently that have dropped off the radar and we have been trying our hardest to find some more that are interested in hearing about the message of the gospel. So we have had a little more finding time this week than is usual but that has been good for us also and I think its fun to find people that God has been preparing. He really does lead us to the people that need the gospel message whether or not they accept it right then and there is up to them but we had some pretty cool experiences this week where we really just felt prompted to go somewhere and the next person we talked to needed some help or needed to hear it. For example, we were on a bus and we wouldn't normally get off until about 3 stops later but I felt something and knew that we needed to get off and walk. I couldn't see anyone and it was raining but we did it anyway and the next man that we stopped talked to us for the next 20 minutes about the gospel and he himself had received a book of Mormon about 5 years earlier but had never really gotten past the introduction. It was really cool to see and things of that nature seem to happen often and it is really cool to see the hand of the Lord in the things that we do and the peoples lives that we talk to.

We had Zone Training in Malmö this week (we are always on trains) and it was really good about teaching about the commandments. They really are there to protect us and help us. I have seen that so many times out here, if everyone lived the commandments we would avoid pretty much every single problem that anyone ever has. After that training I went back to Växjö with elder Gergetz and we were there from Thursdag night until Saturday morning. That was a lot of fun to teach and find there in Växjö. They have a woman there being baptized soon who is super prepared and really cool. We were able to teach her the ten commandments and it was an honor to share with her my testimony of the gospel and how much it would bless her life. We never really know what our testimonies will do or how we can have an impact on others but as long as we are willing to always share it with everyone we give the spirit the opportunity to draw them closer to our Heavenly Father. That is by far my favorite part of missionary work. Getting to share with everyone my conviction of the gospel and my testimony of our Heavenly Father and His plan.

In church we played another song on the cello and piano "A poor wayfaring man of grief" and we had one of our investigators there. Then in the middle of the song we saw three other ladies walk in and they were three that we had talked to on the street earlier that week!! It was super exciting to see the come and they even came fro Sunday school and that was seriously awesome. I love when things like that happen. That was a miracle and they loved it in the church!! We will have to see where it goes from there but they are really positive and we are excited about them.

I have a conviction and a knowledge of this gospel. Over the course of my mission and my life I have seen way to much evidence to say that the gospel is not true. Jesus is the Christ and he reached out again to help us now with the things that we need help with today. He has shown us the way and what we need to do. This gospel is true, this church is the Church of Jesus Christ and it is my honor to be here in Sweden representing my Savior and the church among the Swedish people. I love it and I am excited for the things to come!

Have a great week!!

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Hej allihopa! Inviting People to Eat With the Missionaries,Best Ice Cream Ever and My Last Transfer in Sweden

 right on the outskirts of Ronneby

Hej allihopa!

This email might be a little shorter this week but we had a stellar first week of the transfer and we are excited for the miracles that are to come in the next short while. Elder Benson is super good at everything, seriously though his Swedish is way good already I definitely don't think I picked up on it that fast.

We have been having so many opportunities to teach investigators at members homes and being able to have the members really involved in the fellowship process and having them also feel the spirit of missionary work and bearing their own testimonies. Sometimes, if not most of the time, the best way to build a testimony is just to share it with as many people as you can and we have been able to see that with the members of the ward and that has been such a blessing for us! We had a dinner at syster
walking in the rain
Kemplars this week and we were supposed to only have us and an investigator and a couple of others and then a like 3 other people also showed up! She was a true trooper and everything worked out great and the spirit was super strong when we were able to teach and that will be a moment that I will not forget. if you have the chance, invite the missionaries and the people that they are teaching into your homes because it will help them so much and it will be something that you will not forget either.

practicing for the music number that we had on sunday
Elder Smith is the new elder that came into the area this transfer and it seems like everything is going to go well with that companionship and it feels just like the trust of the ward is increasing and we are seeing more people wanting to know about the gospel. This week we had someone in church that hasnt been in a long time and it was so cool for her to come and be a part of the whole experience. Theres not a whole ton more to say this week. We are teaching a lot and when we arent teaching we are talking with as many people as we can and there seems to be a special feeling here in Karlskrona there are a lot of things that we ahve yet to see.

This is my last transfer in the field but if I havent learned anything here in Sweden it is that I am converted to the gospel and to my Savior. I think that is essentially the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We become what we always thought we might be able to. Its a constant battle to become what God wants us to become. I ahve realized that more and more and I have learned so much from these months that I have spent serving the Swedish people. The gospel is true I have had it confirmed it to me too many times to be able to say that it isnt. Those confirmations of truth come to EVERYONE who seeks for them. So seek for them and cherish the answers that you recieve and search for more. There are always questions and we have a loving Heavenly Father ready to give the humble, patient follower answers. I love this mission and this gospel. The atonement is real, so trust it.

starting to get green
Have a great week!

1. renouned ice cream definitely the best I have ever had (I had to wait for a solid half hour for it)
2. right on the outskirts of Ronneby
3. starting to get green
4. practicing for the music number that we had on sunday
5. walking in the rain

Karlskrona for Last Transfer, 6 More Weeks in Paradise and Service!

As you all probably guessed, elder Benson and I will be staying to complete his training in Karlskrona this last transfer so the next 6 weeks will be spent here in Paradise. I love Karlskrona it is a beautiful place and everyone here is really great that we have gotten to know and we have gotten to teach and bear our testimonies to a lot of people and that is essentially what it is all about. We had fast and testimony meeting on Sunday and we have an Elder who is leaving, Elder Nielsen, and he
said that it sometimes feels a little selfish to bear your testimony to other people because it seems sometimes to strengthen the person bearing it seemingly more than the person who is hearing it and I would have to agree with that. I have seen so many times that my testimony has been strengthened and confirmed to me as I have just been willing to share it with everyone, on the streets, in their homes, in the church, everywhere. We all have that same opportunity wherever we are to "be an example of the believers" and that act will strengthen you so much. Do not miss an opportunity to bear the testimony that you do have no matter how big or small you think that it is. It is precious and it will grow.

We have been able to do a lot of work with members this week in involving them in teaching as we help our investigators to take steps forward. We have a family home evening that has been set up with a few investigators and new memebers in Ronneby which is a fantastic opportunity for the investigators to get fellowshipped and for members and new members to be together and to feel the spirit on a day that is not Sunday so it feels really good to see those friendships build and those investigators understanding more about the gospel. We watched the restoration movie this week and were able to talk about the restoration of the gospel and the reality of God speaking to people today. The spirit was incredibly strong and I know that everyone in there could feel that confirmation of the truthfulness of the things we talked about. The coolest part is that it is true!! That we have a loving Heavenly Father that actually cares about us and the things that we do and the people that we are and who we can become. The restoration was not just something that was nice but it is the message that we have to share and if it is true it means more to the people on this earth than literally anything else. It can also bring the most joy to everyones lives and I can leave my witness that it is true. I have felt that confirmation so many times and I know that everyone can feel that way. It literally brings joy and understanding to life and what we do.

We also had an investigator, come with us to do some service and that was super cool to have him there and to serve one of the less actives in the ward. We were also able to teach him with the less active member... two birds one stone haha. It went really well and these really are some of the best people that I have ever met and you can see how talking and discussing and applying the things of God really make people better and enriches lives.

I dont have a ton of time today but I do want to report that the work is doing fantastically here in Karlskrona and there are many people that are very receptive to the message of the gospel and many that are on their way to becoming more like their Heavenly Father. We just hope that we are on that same path. This is my last transfer and time has gone by so unbelievably fast and I just want you all to know that I have a testimony of this work and the divinity of its guidance. You can also be "taught from on high" search the scriptures and the words of the prophets that we just heard and you will be taught, not from the words alone, but from the Lord as you pnder what comes to your heart.

Love you! Have a great week

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Amazing Conference, Draw Near Unto Me Scripture Quoted Over and Over, and Digging Holes Again = A Very Happy Time for Me!

Wow, first I have to say what an amazing conference we just had! I feel like most of the things that were said were directed right at me but that is the cool part about conference is I feel like most everyone feels like that. Elder Eyrings message at the beginning of Saturday morning session was probably one of the most powerful for me in the conference. His testimony of the church and the divine restoration of the priesthood is almost tangible. Just  like they said throughout the entire conference that really comes from a development of faith, and that development of faith comes through obedience and a constant searching on our part. When we do not search ourselves and do not come closer to God ourselves He will not force us anywhere. "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." -D&C 88:63. It is no mistake that this verse was quoted over and over throughout the conference. We have to search and seek and when we do we have the promise of receiving, blessings, answers, knowledge and testimony as we seek out the Lord and answers to the questions that we have every day. When we involve Him in our every day lives thats when mountains of testimony and knowledge are built. Thats when we see the hand of God in everything that we do and that is how He is able to mold us into the people that we have the potential to be. Every day.

This past week we have had a big part of our focus as missionaries General Conference and having people come and understand the messages that were going to be given. It was fun to see the excitement build for many of them that have been hearing us talk about prophets and apostles in our time and it was a chance for them to come and to listen and to understand and be taught by the spirit. We had 6 people there who are investigating the church and who were really able to take questions with them and try to get answers. I know that each of them had a very spiritual experience while they
were there even if they do not yet quite understand why. We are so blessed to have an understanding of the things that we do and the people that we are and what we can eventually become. Just the seemingly simple knowledge that we are children of a Heavenly Father is absolutely mind boggling to think about and something that almost no one believes or has really thought about and to help people to realize that has also helped me to realize my own divine potential and what/who I have the potential of becoming.

Early on in the week we went to Carolinas house to do some service there in a town outside of Karlskrona. She had us organize her garage and she even needed us to dig a couple of giant holes! That made me super happy because it made me feel like I was back at work again just diggin a hole and enjoying the sun it was a very happy time for me and of course a pleasure to serve. We have put a lot of emphasis on teaching with members and that night we had a very critical lesson with one of our members in with Ahmad and Majed who are both looking to be baptized. They had many questions about prophets and apostles and the thing that really answered their questions the most was when Cyril was able to bear his testimony of the reality of a living prophet and apostles. Never underestimate the power of testimony because for us that day it helped a lot. On Wednesday during the week we had a really busy day set up and whatched as every appointment we had cancelled for one reason or another (thats never happened before) haha elder Benson was shocked but he will come to understand that it is a little more common than not. But that is why backup plans are such a good thing! We were able to talk to a lot of people in the city for a few hours and found a family. A swedish lady and her son that were willing then to listen even though it was cold and want to meet us a little later this week in the church. Why do you ask? because 20 years ago she was alone and needed help and the "mormons" came to help her to move. You never know what small acts of kindness can do. That same day we had a feeling to go and see a less active woman that we knew absolutely nothing about. She ended up living in an assisted living home and we just went in and she let us in and we talked with her for 10-15 minutes and left her with a prayer. She was so happy for a visit and Im not exactly sure why we were there but I knew that we were there for a reason.

Another cool experience like that this week was that next day, on Thursday we went to our district meeting in another city, in växjö. We got there in time but the district leaders train was delayed so we had about 15 minutes. Another elder and I felt prompted to go and talk to someone outside. We walked for not more than 10 meters when we ran into a less active there in Växjö who hadnt been to church in a couple of years becasue of her job. We got to talk to her about conference and invite her to watch it and even read on the street a little from the Book of Mormon. That was cool, and many people would call that a coincidence but its more than that. The Holy Ghost can move us to do things for reasons that we do not and maybe will never know. But when we know that we can be an instrument in the hands of God thats when everything becomes worth it.

Later on in the week we had a lesson with Angelika who is an amazing person that has started investigating because of a friend that had contact with the "mormon missionaries" 3 years ago. Well she texted right before our lesson and wanted to know if she could bring her friend along.... umm yes please do that. So we toured them around the church and talked to them about what happens and they had both been reading in the Book of Mormon. Both of them now want to be baptized on the 7th of May and it was an absolute miracle! They later came to conerence and it was really awesome to see them there. We are seeing a lot of people come out of the woodworks here in Karlskrona and it is just a blessing to see it all happening before our eyes.

That brings us back to conference and I forgot to mention that Kamal, one of the investigators who came brought and made Kebab for everyone that was there and we made some american breakfast as well which was a lot of fun. It was a fantastic oportunity for everyone to mix and talk and have a good time together and it was a great way for people to stay for the next session of conference haha.

I just want you all to know that I know that this gospel is true and that this church is lead by God. But also, that we, ourselves, can be lead by God. As we look to Him in the things that we do and we are willing and worthy to serve He will use us in the ways that He needs us to help others of His children to know who they are and who He is.

Love you all have a great week!!

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