Tag Archives: Journey@McPherson

and then there’s perspective…

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The number ONE reason I love children and children’s ministry—they are forgiving, expecting, and gracious.  They aren’t concerned with your decorations or lack thereof.  They aren’t concerned if you have fewer banana split toppings than originally planned.  Or if you do pulled pork instead of hamburgers and hotdogs (ok, maybe some do).  Or if you have 10 crews of 5 or 11 crews of 4 or 12 crews of 6.

They don’t care.

They just want you to love on them.  And this year at our VBS, we have SO many people to love on these kids.  We have so many people who have prayed and are praying for a weekend of leading tender hearts to the love of God.  And really…what more could we ask for?

So when the angst and worry creeps in (like it is beginning to do as we near the final hours of preparation) God pointed me right to what I needed.  Prepare your heart, Steph.  Pray for the kids, the leaders, and the families. 

We would absolutely LOVE to have your children join us for the launching of a mission of God’s love this weekend!  We have lots of activities planned for the families as well as a big celebration Sunday morning with a BBQ to follow.  Won’t you join us and share with others?

Registration is super simple.  Click Here:  https://thehub.ccbchurch.com/form_response.php?id=70

 

And don’t be afraid of our help… HA!

 

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indeed.

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Christ is Risen.

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He is Risen Indeed!

Beyond the blessings of the sunrise service, the yummy breakfast, the energy of worshiping together, the cutest little boys and girls in their Easter best running after and hunting Easter eggs…beyond the awesome display of balloons rising and sailing off to a place unknown to us all, and beyond the message of Jesus’ wonderful PROMISES, there was one very specific moment that blessed the shells off my Easter eggs…

One little boy had gathered his eggs, emptied them, and had probably eaten a few too many pieces of chocolate, and asked me~~“Steph, look at this Easter egg!! It has NOTHING in it!!” I thought— oh no. I left all of the extra candy at my house and had nothing to put in that empty egg. I for a moment felt badly that he kind of got “jipped” out of a filled Easter egg. I instead, asked him “What does that empty Easter egg mean to you?” To which he replied…

“It’s empty because Jesus has Risen!!”

Praying you all were as blessed as I was this Easter.

have you been “egged” today?

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Dearest Pinterest…you have stolen many, many hours of my day.  You have made me feel like a failure.  You have given me a to-do list a mile long.  And then?  Every once in awhile, you just completely ROCK something out.  I have a love/hate relationship, oh yes I do.  But here’s a little love for you, dear Pinterest, for today.  Ideas for children’s ministry as related to Easter are awesome.  I wish I could take the credit for them.  Nope—I will give all the credit to YOU!!

First of all, I sat in a meeting a few weeks ago with church leadership where they carved out 30 minutes devoted to how to reach people at Easter.  To have a group of leaders make reaching others so important and take intentional time to brainstorm different ways of accomplishing this goal is just amazing to me.  This is so what church is all about!!

Easter ideas are all the rage when it comes to children’s ministry too.  There isn’t anything more fun than searching for ways of helping kids to connect to these stories of the Bible.  And none more important than the story of Easter!!  My pinterest “Easter” board is giddy with excitement for another idea I didn’t get done this year.  So it’s on the list for next.  But take a look at what we did get done this year…

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Have you heard of Resurrection Rolls?  {Click HERE} to see explicit instructions.  So simple and easy!  Our kids did all of the work (except for the oven baking part).  And they worked!!  I love it when that happens.  The idea is that the crescent roll is the tomb, the marshmallow is Jesus, the cinnamon, sugar, and butter the spices they anointed his body with…and when they are done?  The tomb is empty.  This one turned out perfect~~~I’d like to make this recipe a tradition because they are YUMMO!!

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And finally, our biggest intentional outreach our Journey Kids are doing this Easter is the “You’ve Been Egged!!!” event.  This idea has been flying around pinterest the last couple of months and across all three campuses of Journey the idea took hold.  Too cool.  {Click HERE for the free printable} 
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In both of these activities, the common theme is AN EMPTY TOMB!!!  Can’t wait to celebrate all of what that means on Sunday morning.  You never know…will you have a yard full of Easter eggs with an invite to our services on Sunday?  Either way, we would love to see you at Journey@ McPherson for our morning of Easter celebrations!
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embracing the new, Easter style.

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Easter has always been my favorite.  There is just something about the promise of new life.  The happiness and freshness of spring.  The celebration of our salvation through Christ’s resurrection!  I love each and every part of it.  Growing up, I loved getting up while it was still dark—grabbing our winter coats and blankets and heading to a field for the sunrise service early Easter morning.  To me, even at a young age, it was more exciting than waking up Christmas morning.  Yes, my parents did the Easter basket thing.  My very favorite Easter was finding brand new white roller skates, each hidden throughout our living room.  Shopping for Easter dresses and brand new shiny white patent shoes with white laced socks.  A breakfast at church with vases of flowers.  A message of hope and promise of what our Savior did for us and the miracle of being risen from the dead.  It was, somewhat, magical. (Probably not a politically correct word, but can’t find another word fitting)  As a young child growing up, to think that someone could come back from the dead was intriguing and hard to believe.  But, you DO believe.  Because as a child, that is what faith is all about.  A child-like faith…there is nothing like it.

As Steve and I began our family, Easter has continued to be a magical time of year.  If you knew me in the past as I raised my littles, I would coordinate most of their outfits (the girls, especially) and I took GREAT pride in having coordinated Sunday best for the entire family.  I will never forget when I got Landon a pink shirt and I thought Steve would croak.  But he was precious and helped to coin the phrase “real men wear pink!”.  Oh my goodness, I miss those days so, so much.  We even went as far as coordinating with our precious girl cousins a couple of years.  I am sure we were a sight to see walking into church.  But, it was fun and memories I will not forget, ever. 

Can you believe that my children will not be wearing matching dresses for Easter this year?  And I doubt we will even coordinate!  In fact, we may not even be wearing dresses this year.   In making a huge church change in the past few months, things we have grown accustomed to, traditions and such have taken on a new life of their own.  Gone is what we knew and expected.  Things are different now—new traditions to be made.  We experienced it at Christmas and now again during this Easter season.  To say that I am making this transition with ease would not be true.  It has been hard.  Another first doing something totally new.  We feel strongly called in this new change?  YES!  Are we going to mourn just a bit of the loss of what we have always known?  Yes.

I read this post from Tonya whom I have referred you to many times regarding recipes the last few weeks.  I couldn’t help but cry reading this.  Powerful, powerful words about Christ’s crucifixion.  {click HERE to read}  Please read and share.  It is worth it.  I am excited to share with my kids tonight.  I want them to feel what I felt while reading it.  To know what an amazing thing our Jesus did for them, for all of us.

With that brings a huge shout of PERSPECTIVE.  Easter is not about traditions.  Easter is all about Jesus and His love for us all.  His saving grace, His gift of salvation to you and me.  Again we realize the MESSAGE IS STILL THE SAME.  He LIVES!!  He lives for you and me!!  He lives and it doesn’t matter where or how you celebrate this promise of new life.  I know that waking up Easter morning it is going to feel magical just like every other Easter that I can remember.  I am going to embrace Easter with the excitement I always have with my kids.  We are going to get up and go to a Sunrise service with our coats, hats, gloves, and blankets.  We are going to eat breakfast with our church family and others.  And we are going to embrace the beauty of all Easter has to offer us.  Maybe in a new way this year. 

If you are looking for a place to worship on Easter morning, we would LOVE to have you join us at Journey@McPherson!!

judas!

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If you live anywhere near the area that our family does, the word “judas!” is used quite frequently in every day language.  Like “Judas, I can’t believe it’s snowing in March”.  Or, “Judas–I thought it was supposed to be spring.”  Or “Judas!  How long is spring break?”  Or “Judas, do we have to clean the house again.”  Or something like this…”I have done 12 loads of laundry this week, and Judas…there are 3 more waiting”.  Get the idea?  See how we use “judas” in a sentence? 

I have NO idea how the name of one of Jesus’ disciples has become everyday common language use for our community.  My children were saying “Judas” like second to “mommy” and “daddy”.  Of all disciples to refer to often, JUDAS is not the one I would pick.  I kind of like “John–it’s a winter snow storm on March 23rd.”  Nope.  It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

This month’s virtue at Journey Kids is HONESTY.  And quite honestly I am excited for this week’s lesson on, you guess it…Judas.  I’m excited because I think the majority of our kids here his name frequently, like I said.  I can’t wait for them to meet the real Judas everyone is talking about.  How HONESTY and JUDAS are like oil and water.  They just don’t mix. 

Preparing for this story, I can’t help but feel so sorry for Judas.  If you know how the story goes, Judas was a very dishonest person right from the get go.  His greed of $$ cost him absolutely everything.  Overwhelmed by the guilt of leading the soldiers to Jesus and ultimately to Jesus’ death on the cross, Judas took his own life.  Which tells me, he was distraught and anguished over what he did.  How many times have each of us been in a situation where guilt has taken over?  Obviously, for most of us, not to the extent and extreme of death–thankfully.  There are times it is easier to lie, or so it seems.  To keep things going smoothly, or keep yourself out of trouble.  Or even more so when you get or reap rewards from being dishonest.  Doesn’t always feel that great though, does it?  I mean really.  And the words I tell my kids each and every time?  There is ALWAYS someone who knows if you are lying.  Always.  And when others find out?  And you are not a trustworthy person?  What is there left for you at that time?  Building trust and keeping trust is a HARD job.  Especially, when you have lost it in the first place.

 

This virtue of honesty has been so relevant for what our kids deal with each day.  I bet there are more times than we can count where kids and adults alike get to put the virtue of honesty into practice.  It is real.  It was real when Jesus was leading his disciples.  And it’s real today. 

 

The next time I hear, “Judas, it’s too early to get up for church” I wonder if they are going to think about who Judas really was and remember our bible story for this week. 

 

JUDAS, that’s my goal.

gimme a break.

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What a nice little vacay we have had!  Sledding, snow ice cream, hot chocolate, puzzles, movies, laundry, basketball, french toast, chili, chicken noodle soup, cinnamon rolls and bread, online shopping (shhhh, don’t tell the dad!)…and then?  Repeat.  And repeat once more.  And hold on…we get another day.  What?  Chili?  AGAIN?!

Seriously have loved this EXXXXTRA long weekend we’ve had.  Lots of time spent with each other and family.  Special weekend at church with Journey@McPherson’s very first baby dedication!  Too beautiful—the baby, the family, the whole gosh darn thing.  I just love it.   As I was preparing for this week in Children’s ministry and the baby dedication, I came a cross the most perfect blessing for each and every one of us.  It’s from one of my now favorite authors, Holley Gerth.  She just has a beautiful way of saying just what needs to be said.  I bought her journal from  Blessings Unlimited and was excited to see that each page is laced with her beautiful writing and bible verses.   I was just thumbing through it and came across this…

You are God’s powerhouse.  Go light your world in your own wonderful way”.  I am amazed by these words.  Another “take” on being the light of the world.  And being created uniquely to fulfill a purpose that only you can fill.  Perfect, really, for each one of us.

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On to the chili.  Raise your hand if you made chili during these snow days?!  Yes, I did.  The weather just screams chili.  And my kids screamed when they heard I was breaking out the chili for the, you guessed it…THIRD time in the last few days.  They have done a really good job of eating leftovers as we have been creative with the many meals we have shared together.  I have linked up this sweet gal’s blog before because of her recipes and I am doing it again.  Tonya at 4 Little Ferguson’s   shared this recipe for using up leftover chili.  And it was a hit over here!!  The kids loved it and it almost used up all of my 3rd round of chili.  Thank you, Tonya!  Nachos Supreme rocked the “4 little Kaufman’s” and left them smiling and most unknowing that they had just eaten chili again.  {click HERE for recipe}
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I decided to get creative since I had a bit of chili leftover yet again and filled tortillas with the chili and cheese sauce and froze them for another time.  Like probably a few weeks down the road.  I don’t think I’ll be able to fool them again this week.
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calling all abigails…

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I don’t know about you, but I had no idea there was a man named Nabal in the bible.  I guess I must have missed that in Sunday school?!  I have, however, heard of Abigail.  And of course, most have heard of David–especially when you associate him with Goliath.

We have just wrapped up our 3rd week of the virtue of Peace at Journey Kids.  Amazing to me the many, many stories that correlate with this virtue.  I know when I think of the old testament stories, peace isn’t exactly the word I would have used to describe it.  So many rules, do’s and dont’s and repercussions for not following the law.  But nestled in all of that is God’s big story.  And His strong character of peace which is shown through different people.  It’s pretty awesome when you think and read the bible like a great big story book.  So Children’s Ministry is where it’s at for me, as I’ve said before.  It must be because I need to learn like kids do.  I am re-learning all of these things with them. 

Our story yesterday centered around Abigail who interevened and basically stopped a war and the killing of many people—by finding a solution to a problem which in the end, really wasn’t so big in the first place between David and her then husband, Nabal.  There was the illustration used for yesterday’s bottom lineProve you care more about others by being part of the SOLUTION. 

Our kids were pretty awesome at coming up with their own stories about arguments, gossip, and fighting between each other and how they can be the “ABIGAIL” and intervene by being part of the solution. 

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Looks to me like resolving conflict is fun, doesn’t it? 

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We can’t kid ourselves.  Conflict is just a part of who we are as people.  It happens with the very tiniest kindergartners all the way through to middle school, high school, college, and beyond.  But, we can stop that cycle by being part of the solution.  I used to love a song called “Don’t be Talkin’ About Friends”.  It was by the group Acapella.  I was seriously obsessed with this group for the obvious reason of how awesome they sounded.  The words to these songs were just pretty powerful.  In the song it goes on to say…”don’t be talkin’ about friends when they’re not around, don’t be bringing them down…and my absolute FAVORITE line of the song…“if there were no one to hear it, IT COULD NOT GO ON!!!” 

Convicting, that line, isn’t it?  I am convicted, I know that.  We had a part of the lesson about when you hear your friends talking about someone else that isn’t nice– if you are there–be a part of the solution.  The kids’ answers to helping to be part of the solution were “say something nice about the person they’re talking about” or “tell them to stop talking like that it isn’t nice.”.  Our kids are smart.  And we as parents can pray that they are convicted to do something in these situations at school, church, or wherever they are.  We can help them by not perpetuating it when they come home and talk—because everyone needs a place to vent, right?  The fact of the matter is we are our kids’ strongest role models.  Scary, isn’t it?  The responsibility lies on us. There is a fine line between letting our kids “vent” their frustrations and taking sides with them, OR teaching them to talk things through in a healthy way.  Man, it is hard.  But we don’t have to do it alone. 

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Thank you, thank you God—none of us are in this alone.  But we are each responsible for at least one person, aren’t we? 

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I have to include this picture, because Natalie is needing to come up with a solution.  She is smiling so big because she knows these big alligator tears are very fleeting…in fact, THIS very sweet thing is what gets Natalie up on Sunday mornings!

Romans 14:19

Let us do all we can to live in peace, and work hard to build each other up”

I think this verse is beginning to stick!  Just in time too…only one more week of this virtue.

what God reveals.

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The last couple of days I have spent preparing for our Children’s hour at

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I had to use the logo because I love it so much…(I know, I am a weirdo!!)

I have found that when I really take time to look at what we are going through in this exact moment, God reveals himself and what he has for us to learn through so many people.  It is amazing to me.  Especially amazing as I study this particular lesson of Jacob and Esau.  And equally amazing our virtue of peace for the month of February. 

 

One thing my four kids are very good at doing, is giving me content to write about, teach about, and share about.  So thank you kiddos!  We are working hard at putting into practice what we are learning.  Have you heard the story of the brothers, Jacob and Esau?  How Jacob stole Esau’s birthright which led to taking his inheritance?  Esau was NOT HAPPY.  Jacob had deceived his father and it. was. ugly.  But years later, the brothers meet again and Esau decides to let go of his anger and love Jacob. 

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How many times have you heard from your kids “but it’s NOT FAIR!”.  I think I may have heard it a few times this morning already.  And I know I heard it yesterday morning and the morning before that.  Are you getting the theme here that the Kaufman’s may not  be morning people?  Or I think it is more that we are going to bed TOO late, but anyway. 

The bottom line we are teaching the kids this week is this:  prove you care about others by letting go of “whats fair”.

Here’s a for instance for you. 

 

These girls did NOT think the refs were “fair” at their last basketball game.  Now, there is a time to cry and even be angry.  I was there!  BUT, the fact of the matter is, they lost their game, it may or may not have been “fair”, and still you have friends to cheer on!  Do you just forget it?  It wasn’t fair!  I’m not going to anymore basketball games! 

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Absolutely not!  It was time to celebrate the boys and did I mention they WON the League Championship!!!??!!  How awesome is that?!

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I gave an example to the Journey Kids to think about all of the fun things you would do at a sleepover with one of your really good friends.  What would you eat?  What games would you play?  When would you finally go to sleep?  When would you wake up? 

 

And then, I told them to think about what they would do~~  you call up your really good friend for a sleepover and he or she was already having a sleepover with another friend.  How would that make you feel? 

 

I think most of the kids could relate.  Especially our older ones.  It happens.  It isn’t FAIR!!  And as a parent?  Don’t you just hurt for your kids when something like this happens?  It is so hard to not want to fight back.  To make the other person feel just as you did.  But are we really supposed to act in that way?  Jesus does not want us to continue the cycle of hurt, retaliation, and anger. 

 

The basic truth we are trying to get across with this story is this:  I need to make the right choice.

 

This is sure not limited to kids and what they go through, is it?  Oh my goodness.  How we can all get sucked into this thinking of what is fair and what isn’t.  “It’s not fair that he got that job promotion and I didn’t”.  “It’s not fair that she can have kids and I can’t”.  “It’s not fair that they always get invited to everyone else’s house”.  “It’s not fair that my kid isn’t a starter on the team”.  “It’s not fair that they get to live in that house, or drive that kind of car…”  The list goes on and on.  I bet each of us could add to that list too, don’t you think?

 

Proving you care about others by letting go of “what’s fair”.

It’s the bottom line.  For us all.

 Romans 14:19 “So let us do all we can to live in peace.  and let us work hard to build each other up.”

 

I have to just say, I am beyond blessed to have friends who are growing their kids with mine that strive to show how much they care about others.  It’s a work in progress.  And I will say….especially with GIRLS!!  Oh the drama.  But God placed our kids in each of our families because He knew that’s where our kids belong.  That single truth right there is what keeps Steve and me going.  And we haven’t even gotten to the rough patches.  So remind me, will you?  When you hear me screaming…

It’s NOT fair.”

february virtue.

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I have debated and debated delving into this post today.  In my mind, the nagging or nudging continues.  So I am going to go for it.  And, besides.  It’s the new virtue for Journey Kids this month.  And I am going to be teaching on it ALL month. 

First of all, I have to say that I love, love, love 252 Basics, the curriculum we use.   In my opinion, I have found that being a teacher using this curriculum is about as simple as it gets.  Not to mention that we have an amazing Children’s Pastor who organizes, finds volunteers to pack up everything we need for each week, and there for support whenever needed.  (maybe that is it?)  But, I know how much fun Steve is having as a Sunday school teacher—and it’s a huge blessing to see.  Having his son in his class may change that—better not speak to soon…

THE VIRTUE.  Peace.  When you think of the word PEACE what does it really mean to you?   

The teaching on peace this month is exactly how I want to teach this virtue to my kids.  So many times, especially in the Mennonite faith, much is associated with “war” when talking about peace.  The fact of the matter is, the term “mennonite” does not mean “peace”.  The term “peace” does not mean “anti-war” or “anti-government”.  So that being said, I do not believe those can be interchangeable.  Saying we are against this or that isn’t always “peaceful”, is it?   Above all else, when teaching kids (and adults for that matter) what are you going to listen to most?  Someone being negative and telling you NOT to do something?  Or someone telling you the way to live for Jesus?  I know what my answer is to this.  And by modeling and teaching kids to live as Jesus wants them to, they will make difficult decisions for themselves.  I really, really believe that.  Without ever having to say “this is bad” or “we don’t believe in this”.  To teach the “connection between PEACE and God’s character as shown through God’s big story”.  I don’t think any of us can argue that God does not want us to reflect peace in our relationships with others, can we?  And I’ll say it again…this curriculum is awesome in their teaching on peace.

The Life Application:  Peace:  Proving you care more about each other than winning an argument.

The Bottom Line:  Prove you care about others by walking away from a fight.

Memory Verse:  “So let us do all we can to live in peace.  And let us work hard to build each other up”.  Romans 14:19.

Each story for the next four weeks reflects the virtue of peace in the bible.  Yesterday it was Isaac’s wells.  Did you know about Isaac’s wells?  Read it in Genesis 26:16-22, 26-31.  So interesting to see this virtue put into practice, WAAAYYY before Jesus ever walked the earth.  Just part of God’s character of peace in His big story. 

Kourtney and Landon were having some issues riding in the back seat on the way to school.  This is nothing new.  Especially in the mornings at our house.  I found it quite amusing to hear each of them ask the other…”did you hear what we learned yesterday about caring more about ‘me’ than winning this fight?”  Not exxxaaaccctly how I would have worded it.  HA!  But I think they kind of “got it”.  Even if it was from a very egocentric point of view!  I have some ideas on what next month’s virtue could be…

just excited, that’s all…

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Things are tense and anxiety is rising.  We begin to question things.  What in the world were we thinking?  What in the world are we thinking?  Is this even going to be possible to pull off?  And in just 8 days? 

SOMEBODY HELP US!!!!

And then, you sit back and relax.  And realize the things that are causing your head to spin out of control, are really not that big.  At least in the whole scheme of things.  Gaining perspective.  So important in absolutely every aspect of our lives, comes in to play with building a new church–most definitely.  We are here with no other reason than to spread the love of Jesus—to any and all who need to hear it.  Or need to see, hear, touch, and feel the love of Jesus in a new way.

 

Our new website for Journey Mennonite Church was born today!  (or at least the first time I’ve seen it) And…it got me really, really excited.  What has seemed somewhat surreal felt oh so real when I made that first click and it took me right to REALITY.

It is real.  It is happening.  We are ready to set out on our JOURNEY.

If you are looking for a church home or just want to see what we’re all about, we would love to have you.  Please check here to see and read for yourself  http://journeymennonite.org/

Come join us!

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