Holy Guacamole

August 22, 2016

It has been a slower week but we still had fun stuff happening!  Jacob is getting very excited for his baptism this Saturday.  His mom and dad both sat in on the lesson this week which was focused on temples.  His dad shared his experience of when he went through the temple as a youth and how special he remembers it being.  He then continued to tell Jacob about the Holy Ghost and how nice it is to feel it all the time.  He also told Jacob how he remembers the day it left him.  Wow, it was heartbreaking to hear that but we were able to promise his dad that it was something he could have again.  His dad knows he needs to come back to church and start living the gospel.  We feel like Jacob is going to be what starts the fire in his dad again.  Jacob is such a sweet boy and he wants his family to be sealed together so bad.  It is the cutest and most inspiring thing ever.  It makes me realize how lucky I am to already be sealed to my family.  I get to be with you crazies FOREVER!

Mesa Temple with Laneye

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Thursday, Laneye Anzak (from the Casas Adobes ward in Tucson), went through the temple for the first time and we found a ride and got to go!  So it was a road trip up to Mesa.  It was a special day and Sister Waldron and I both felt very blessed to be able to go to the temple.  We both took family names and fasted that day and made the most out of the time we had there.  Nothing compares to the peace in the temple.  And that was something we both needed to feel this week!  It was awesome to see someone who had worked for this day and to be there with her.  The feeling was overwhelming.  It was a fun day!

Mesa Temple with Laneye

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We did have one surprise Thursday night. M- dropped us. I was kind of relieved rather than depressed about it because I knew we were going to have to drop her the next time we saw her or next week because they weren’t keeping commitments and were no longer progressing.  M- thinks that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but she won’t read it. She thinks all inspired things like that are from God.  All churches are good but she feels it doesn’t matter which you join. In a way, she is right.  Churches are good.  They tell us to do good things and they teach about Christ’s teachings.  But no other church on the earth has what we have.  We have the priesthood restored.  We have the AUTHORITY.  Sometimes it makes me so sad that some people will never understand how important that is.  There will always be a good and a better and a best.  Seek out the best and live it.  We have the best, the restoration of Christ’s church!  I feel like I’m bragging about the church… but that’s what I’m out here for, right???!

The last highlight of the week was our Saturday morning! We were up at 6:00am, out at the ranch we volunteer at once a week, helping with the cattle.  We gave all the heffer’s injections, new tags, and spray.  Then we helped with the tagging, branding, castrating, and immunizations of all the calves.  It was so dope.  We had a blast. And we smelled terrible!  I never imagined getting a kick out of something like this.  We didn’t have to rope and flank them but I did learn how to rope and I stunk at it.  But Teresa did tell me I was a natural at branding!   Our district is the best group.  We had fun naming all of the cows, most were named after a type of burger or poop.  My favorite little guy is named Buffalo Chip.

I am branding a cow!

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Giving shots and tags

Not to go off and talk about poop for my whole letter, but everyone kept calling the fresh ones guacamole, all… morning… long.   They kept joking about who wanted to taste the freshly made guac.  Unfortunate for us, later Saturday night we had a lesson with the Falcons and it was GUACAMOLE NIGHT. We have been looking forward to it all week, but when we saw it, all we could think of was those darn cows from that morning!  LOL, we almost didn’t eat any!

Ranch hands:  Elder’s Jorgensen, Deyarmond, Potter and Jordan, with me, Sister Waldron and Teresa

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Saturday night I had a nice surprise!  Sister Brooks came back to visit!!  She was at a wedding in Mesa and came down to Sierra Vista to spend the night.  It was so fun to see her again, and so weird too.  I couldn’t call her Sister Brooks anymore!

Sister Waldron has been adjusting to mission life this week.  She is a fun companion and we get along really well.  We have connected over things I never would have guessed we would connect over!  I definitely feel President was inspired when he put us together. Although training is harder than I thought it would be it is very rewarding. I feel like I learn so much everyday and I know that it is helping me to be a better missionary.  We have had good days, but we’ve also have hard days that we made fun.

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I got the audio of Jace’s homecoming report and it did work.  I haven’t had time to listen to it yet though. I will get there today eventually, haha.

We better be doing a lot of boating when I get back! I’m super jealous of you guys.  That sounds like a lot of fun!!  Tell the Butikofer’s I say hello!  I miss being a part of you rowdy bunch!  Okay don’t party too hard back home. Yes, I am very jealous of the boating.  Send videos of Sam jumping the wake, that’s freaking sick.  Also, since when did Benson and the gang become a band?? Sounds great!

Bye for the week,  Sister Packer

Practicing our Ropin’

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Lunch Break

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Los Tres Milagros

August 15, 2016

Dear Fam,

It’s been an exciting week!  Monday was my last night with Sister Brooks and now she is home in Utah!  Our investigators, the Thackers, took us and our ward mission leader and his family (the Rawlings) out to dinner that night. It was so fun and a perfect way for Sister Brooks to end her time in Sierra vista.  She will be missed!  

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Dinner with the Thacker’s: Conner, Grandma, Laura, Jim, Brother Rawlings, Ryan, Maya, Sister Rawlings, Brooks, me, Jonny and Julie

But I got an awesome new companion to replace her!  Sister Waldron!  She is from Kaysville, Utah. She is super cute and a hard worker.  We are going to have a good time together.  So we had our trainer/trainee meeting Tuesday morning.  They assigned us our new babies and then President assigned them the challenge of inviting someone to be baptized by the end of the first week.  Sister Waldron was able to do this her first night out!!  

Meeting Sister Waldron

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We have been working with an 11 year old boy who had previously had a date but missed it.  Tuesday night we met him and had an awesome lesson about baptism.  After setting a date we had him give the closing prayer and he prayed that his family would get sealed in the temple too.  This sweet boy loves the gospel and wants his family to be together forever so bad!  We really believe his baptism could bring his family back to activity in the church.  I was so proud of Sister Waldron!  This week we were really lucky!  We got to set not just one date, but TWO. What da whaaaaa??  Saturday we had a lesson with the Thackers.  We had started the plan of salvation last time we went and planned on finishing it. Wow. She is prepared!  It was like she already knew everything!  Everything connected.  We talked about baptism and the steps we take to get to live with Heavenly Father all throughout the lesson. We invited her to be baptized. This was the cool part. She said she was ready, but wants to do it with her husband. Ahhhhh yay yay. Then she put the Book of Mormon she had open up to her face and began to cry! The spirit was so strong. She told us how her husband has been struggling and she really feels like this can help both of them.  We bore our testimonies to her that it would bless her family and their relationship and that by showing the Lord her commitment, he could further bless her.  I know she is going to be such a great example for her family.  And I know the Lord really does have people prepared to hear our message, we just gotta get out there and find them.  I’m excited to see how she progresses.  She has such strong faith!  

The most exciting part about setting a date with someone is knowing that they are about to make promises with the Lord and receive the protection of the Holy Ghost.  That protection is what guides us to Him!  I’ve been reading in the Book of Mormon in Third Nephi when Christ teaches the people.  Did you know he mentions about forty times in one chapter the word “baptism”??  It’s so important.  We need baptism to qualify us for the Holy Ghost, which then allows us to return to him.  I’m so grateful to have that in my life. 

Along with those two, we had another crazy miracle!  These things must come in three’s. So we went out to an appointment and when we got there they told us they were super busy and cancelled.  For some reason we both had a feeling that would happen.  And we knew exactly where we needed to go.  We sped off to our recent convert’s house who hasn’t had any contact with us in six weeks!  She hasn’t come to church since May!  But right as we pulled up, she and her daughter came walking out of the house to leave.  It was PERFECT timing.  We met her and talked with her awhile.  She didn’t let us set up a time to come back or even say she would come to church, but we were able to make contact with her and remind her how much we love her.  God was definitely guiding us that night.  Here is the best part, he wasn’t done guiding us after we left.  The adventure continued!  We went off to a potential investigator’s house we had met two days earlier.  We knocked and talked with the mom a bit.  She was clearly not interested as she had her own faith.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more persistent at a doorstep before; I just felt like we couldn’t let her close the door.  Her fourteen year old daughter also came to the door and as we talked she said she wasn’t really sure what she believed in.  Then suddenly, WE GOT IN THE DOOR.  It was crazy.  She opened up to us, we stepped in and just kinda stared at each other like, “did that really happen?”  We had an awesome first lesson and by the end of it, the mom said we could come back next week!  And she even asked about our church services!😱😱😱😱  

We have just had an exciting week. I think there were some really great experiences for Sister Waldron’s first week!  Here’s my “mission dog” story.  Everyone has one, right?  We went tracting and went into a yard with a ‘beware of dog’ sign.  But after shaking the gate and seeing no dog and hearing no dog,  we thought we were fine.  Long story short, we we’re chased out by the biggest and scariest German shepherd I have ever seen!  Another funny thing that happened was that shortly after that we met a woman who was a ‘fellow believer’ who said they (I don’t know who ‘they’ are) would be coming for us. Apparently ‘they’ are going to gather up all the believers, and get rid of us. Yep, and the homeless will be the first to go, she said.   Had we not noticed the shortage of homeless people already?? 

 I had a little bit of fun with my greenie.  The Bingham’s grandparents are living with them and the grandpa has his own area in the garage with a desk and stuff.  So I told her that a homeless man lived in our garage and she totally believed me.  I told her he was really nice and helped with the yard work sometimes.  She was so funny, every night making sure the door was locked so he wouldn’t come in.  Hahahaha, I finally told her about ten minutes ago and she laughed pretty hard😂,  don’t worry though, I’m being  nice to her.  That was my one prank.  She is a good missionary and so willing to work hard.  Keep her in your prayers!  One thing I’ve realized this week is that training is not as easy as I thought it would be.  Even though she is awesome, it’s still a bit stressful because I want to do things well.  But the Lord is blessing and strengthening us.  Thank you so much for your prayers.

Love you all fam, Sister Packer

This is our apartment… the whole thing!  It may be smaller than my dorm room at Utah state!

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The mission vehicle can get us through anything.

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I’m Going to Be a Trainer!

August 8th, 2016

Hi Family,

We were in Tucson on Friday because Sister Brook’s had MLC.  While we were at the mission office she had her last “dying” interview and when they came out of President’s office, he asked if he could talk with me.  That made me nervous.  He asked me if I was ready (ready for what???) He asked me if I was ready to train?!  Guess what?!   I’m having a baby!!!!!  Hahaha, that’s the mission lingo – Ahhhh I’m so excited. I get to train a new missionary this next transfer.  Not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous too.  I’ve been fasting and praying that I will be able to help my new missionary and that I won’t mess up her childhood, hahaha.  So we have been really crazy busy today trying to get Sister Brooks all packed up and also to get the house ready for the new baby.  Which reminds me I need to send a video of our little attic!  I want you all to see some of the smallest housing in the mission.

Goodbye, Sister Brooks  

Okay so we had a little miracle last night. Sister Brooks and I decided we really wanted a new investigator. We made it a goal to find one before the end of the week and by Saturday we still hadn’t found one!  Sunday came and we still had nothing. So within every thirty minute intervals between appointments we were trying potentials or knocking on doors. It felt like everybody wanted to slam the door in our face or make some rude remark. Ouch. We had our last appointment for the night at seven and got out at eight. With thirty minutes left before the trainer conference call started, we tried two potentials.  Once again nothing. Hmmm, so now it’s 8:15.  Sister Brooks suggested we try another potential we had met two weeks ago but waved us away quite angrily.  Since she had been a referral we figured one more try couldn’t hurt.  We knocked, she answered, she invited us in and told us to preach to her. Boom, we had a new investigator. Ahhhhhh!!!  It was a freaking miracle! I know that when we set goals, Heavenly Father helps us to achieve them, especially when we do all that we can and pray for his help.  He really does care about each one of our concerns.  

… yes this is our mission car!

So we had a really good last week of the transfer.  M- and the girls came to church.  It was awesome.  Right before the third hour of church, Maria wanted to check on the girls and she asked them if they wanted to stay or go into primary.  They waved her away and said they were staying!  It has been pretty cool to see such young girls so open to the gospel and curious to learn more.  One of our other families is also progressing.  We went to the little boy’s birthday party and his dad told us how he only read one night and his wife read the other night and then he told us how he is going to make it hard for us.  Oh, if he only knew how easy he was making it by reading!   Well, have a good week.

Love you, Sister Packer

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Hottest District in the Mish!

I learned how to cut hair!

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Rescuing Horses & Jumping Through Puddles

August 1st, 2016

Hola familia,

It’s crazy that Jaces two years are up already. Don’t worry mom this next year will also fly by.  So it’s been a busy week and it kinda just felt like a normal week too.  Not much to report.  We have started doing some really fun service.  We are volunteering out at a horse rescue ranch!🐴🐴🐴   It’s so cool.  I think I am going to be a horse expert by the end of my time here in Sierra vista.  We get to feed them, groom them, and next week we will learn how to take care of crap… 💩, literally!  This week Sister Brook’s and I learned the grooming from head to toe and then how to saddle and bridle them.  It wasn’t bad but it did make me nervous to clean their hoofs.  It’s freaky to be that close to a huge normal that could kill you.  My favorite horses name is Sundae- he is gorgeous.   I will have to take my iPad this week so I can send you pics, it’s a beautiful place.

We got two new investigators this week!  Brother Rawlings, our ward mission leader in the Hereford ward, told us a few weeks ago to visit a family they have been friends with.  The grandpa is inactive and none of his family are members but the 8 year old boy goes to scouts so they know a little about the church.  Anyway, we had a lesson with them this week at the Rawling’s house and it went really well.  The father remembered a little bit about the gospel because the grandpa had taken him to church when he was a boy.  So when we shared the first vision and asked their thoughts and feelings the mom told us she felt good about it but didn’t know why.  The father replied before we could,   “you were feeling the spirit!”  Ah, it was so cool to see him answer her question!  So they accepted a Book of Mormon on one condition.  That we sign the inside cover and come to their son’s birthday party next week.  We seriously love them so much.  The son is so cute and we got to teach him how to pray at the end of the lesson.

M- and her family are doing pretty well.  We asked them if they have prayed about a baptism date but M- feels she isn’t ready yet.  She voiced her concern for not having enough dedication or conviction yet.  She thinks it all makes sense and that it’s good but she wants a sign that this is meant for her.😑  Well, we boldly told her that we had been inviting her to make commitments that would help them to gain a conviction of the gospel and she hadn’t been keeping them.  So far they haven’t come to church (although they keep saying they want to) and she hasn’t read the chapters in the Book of Mormon we give her.  Actually her two daughter’s have been reading and they are doing AWESOME.  They told us that they enjoy the reading and the lessons more than they like their children’s bible!  They said this stuff was easier to understand!  How cool?!  So anyway we invited M- to commit to do the reading with her kids.  And she said she would.  We just have to keep inviting, hopefully she will find her own conviction.  When she does follow through, she will be blessed with answers.

As you know, there really are so many homeless people here!!  There’s a family here with hearts of gold who are letting homeless people live in one of their houses. They told us to go visit them.   One of the guys living there has been a preacher and apparently he is one of God’s anointed.  When we started talking about prophets being called of God he was like, “oh yeah like me”. ….uh no not like you…  When we shared the first vision he was like,  “yeah, I totally believe it because I have been visited by God too”. …wait what?… It was interesting.  It led Sister Brook’s and I into a very serious discussion after the lesson about priesthood power, priesthood authority and miracles.  It came down to whether or not people need the priesthood to perform miracles and to prophesy.  We brought the matter up with brother Rawlings.  We all had a good discussion on it and came to the conclusion that miracles and hearings depend on faith.  Faith fuels the power.  So when righteous people with enough faith do something in the name of Christ, there can be miracles.  But we still need priesthood authority to perform miracles because it’s not only organization in the church but it’s what makes our saving ordinances count in the next life.  

Remember those cool storms I was telling you about last week?  Well we had a really big one last night.  It was crazy.  Sister Brook’s and I went outside to jump in the puddles by the church before our nightly planning. We went inside the church to plan but decided we needed a picture of the rain so we went back out.  And guess what… We locked ourselves out in the freaking rain and lightening!  We had no keys, and we had no phone – everything was locked in the building! We started walking to a member’s home, in the rain and puddles,  and luckily some member’s saw us about halfway and had keys to the building and saved us! We were completely soaked, the closest we will get to swimming probably😂.

Okay, love you all!  Sister Packer

Addition to the bugs and scorpions of Arizona, I present the Western Diamond Back Rattlesnake.  We chatted with some workers catching this little guy in some grass along the sidewalk (the 10th catch of the day for them).  And a pic of someone with an actual rattlesnake bite one month later.  Ouch!

 

Pretty Sunset in Sierra Vista

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The District

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Sierra Vista is Beautiful

Dear Fam,

 First of all, this is the coolest season EVER. Most nights we go out onto our roof and watch the storms. It is SO DOPE. There are flashes of lightening every five seconds and it lights up the whole sky.  Sierra Vista is beautiful!

A picture from the Arizona Missionary Mamma Site of the Storms

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 We had a couple fun adventures this week.  I ate basically raw steak.  Rarest I have ever seen steak in my whole life but I’m not dead yet so no worries.  We had dinner with a couple that grilled for us.  Did he know how to use a grill?? I’m thinking nah.  This also happened to be the same day I challenged my companion to drink a raw egg.  So we both drank an egg and then ate raw steak later… I felt sick afterwards.  Later, as we taught them, we testified to them that there is a God and that He is aware of them.  We talked about how God is like earthly fathers who let their children make bad choices sometimes but is always there to offer help.  They liked the analogy but they still weren’t very interested.  That is an issue we have run into in this military town.  A lot of people in the military just don’t believe or want to believe in God anymore.  So they weren’t interested in learning more but they were really worried we didn’t eat enough because we told them our monthly allowance.  So they said we could come over to eat anytime.  Ha ha, at least they got the light of Christ in them!  The good news is we did make progress with M-.  Ah wow I love her family so much.  We literally had a two hour lesson and taught two lessons!  We went with the intent to teach the plan of salvation, and her three girls joined us and they loved it.  One daughter started to cry as we discussed the spirit world because she had a friend pass away and she has been wondering where they went.  God is so aware of our needs.  He knew she needed to hear that message.  After we finished that lesson M- asked us to teach her girls about ‘that boy Joseph Smith.’  They want to read the Book of Mormon together and agreed to pray about it as a family.  

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This week I felt so blessed because I got to attend Tammy’s baptism.  Mamma Tammy came down to Sierra Vista and picked us up.  Her baptism was wonderful.  She had us get her waterproof mascara and a CTR ring and she was ready to go!  She looked so happy. I’m just so happy for her and proud of the choice she made!!  It was probably one of the best days of my mission so far.  I can’t explain the feeling seeing someone you’ve been praying for for months be so happy and be happy because of the gospel.  THE GOSPEL IS AWESOME!  My companion went to Gilbert to see her recent convert go through the temple, so I also got to spend the day with Sister Daun and cook in my old area!  I got to go see the Anzak’s again for dinner and see all of my friends from the Casas ward.  I loved it!     I had the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting this past Sunday.  Luckily they gave me a pretty easy topic.  I spoke on how the gift of the Holy Ghost has blessed my life. It was actually a fun topic to research.  The coolest thing I found was a quote from Elder Bednar’s talk- Receive the Holy Ghost.  “As we listen to the sacrament prayers and worthily partake of the bread and water;  as we pledge our willingness to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments, we are promised that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. Thus, everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost.” Everything we do is to receive the Holy Ghost, because he sanctifies us!  

Okay fam, guess what. Sister brooks and I caught our new district pet.  Call us the scorpion queens. Hollaaaaa. We named him Nicholas. We found him in our bathroom the other day. He is pretty cute.  Today we went on a hike that was supposed to take us up to a hidden waterfall but it’s too dry here.  Uugh, no water in the waterfall. That’s pretty much it for the week.  Have fun picking up the bro in London and buy me some fish and chips for later.

Love, Sister Packer.

 

My Favorite People from Casas!

 

We went on a dope hike up to a DRY waterfall, lol.

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Down on the Border

Hey sorry for the short email last week. I will tell you a little more this week. But only a little😜  So our Sunday was very exciting.  We got three new investigators in one day!! Granted, one isn’t very solid and we probably will only teach one more time… But that’s okay!

So bishop pulled is out of relief society and gave us a dope referral.  Her name is M- and she is from Honduras.  So the only time we had to go see her was right after church. She started crying when we showed up. She has been going through some really hard times and is excited for God to be a part of her life again.  We are excited to teach her!  That was definitely a blessing from Heavenly Father.  We have to drop some people we are teaching but he is giving us more to do!

Okay so we had this crazy lesson with a family in another ward.  They invited us over to meet their preacher friend who lives in our area.  They also had over another member bro Cummings.  Hardest most frustrating lesson ever! The preacher, his name is C-.  He had so many questions, and he knows his bible in and out. We tried to teach the first lesson but it got so far off topic because he kept grilling us.  And this member kept trying to answer his questions and then they would start bible bashing. Not chill… At all.  The spirit left the room every time.  There was one point of the lesson when we literally put our hands up and were like,  “woah, woah wait a second.”  And we refocused the discussion.  It came to the point where we said that we could sit there and read scriptures from the bible and what we think they mean all day and all night and we would get nowhere. We told him the only way he can truly understand our religion is if he reads the Book of Mormon. We had the 16 old boy read Moroni 10:4-5 and he bore his testimony on how he received an answer through sincere prayer. At that moment the spirit was there. However, Cedric wasn’t interested in doing that. Oh well. So we ended the night by meeting the Montoya family. They have a fourteen year old daughter who wants to get baptized!  They are all
members but just inactive so she has now chosen to take the lessons and gitter done.  Luckily, they are a sweet family and sent us home with some enchiladas, cause these sister’s hadn’t eaten all day, lol. The theme of this week has been reading the flipping Book of Mormon.  It’s the best book ever guys!

I did some studying on Joseph Smith’s Lecture on Faith and here is some of the notes I took:  All our actions can be tied back to faith.  The power God has is faith. Faith in him is what the Savior uses.  And so for us when we exercise our faith we are calling upon his power to help us. Nothing can be accomplished without faith.

We understand faith better than most religions, because we don’t view it as dormant. It takes action, positive or negative, to move it. And whatever direction it goes we see the results or fruits of it.  The divinity within us is our tie to God. So it makes sense that this powers in God is also in man. We have no power without faith. We call upon him through our faith. He made us in his likeness and image. He made us like him so we could exercise faith and have his power.  

Faith- assurance, evidence, and action. Elder Bednar said, – “these three components of faith… I describe as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present.”  We face the future through what we believe we can achieve with our faith, or with our hope. We look to the past for assurance and evidence that faith works. Through the examples of others or assurances from prophets. And then we presently take action to receive our power.

Love, Sister Packer

Boarder Fence to Mexico

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