Collection 542, Box 1, Folder 6
[The following transcripts of letters by Sarah Alice (Troyer) Young (along with a few letters by others) were made by Mrs. Carol Whiting in the 1990s from the originals, which in many cases were very faded and difficult to read. The originals are often on very thin or poor quality paper. A very few minor revisions were made by the archives staff, including Laurie Ellison, a Wheaton College graduate student working under the supervision of the BGC Archives staff.]
[Comments in brackets were added by an archivist, except those in italics, which are by Mrs. Whiting. The full text of Bible verses mentioned in the letters were also provided by Mrs. Whiting. No attempt has been made to maintain the layout or page numbering of Young's letters or to indicate page breaks, except to have paragraph breaks at the same points as they occur in the correspondence. Misspelling in the correspondence have been left as is, as has punctuation and capitalization.]
[Many letter start on one day and then have a new section added on, headed by the date of addtion. In this transcription, a row of five asterisks "*****" separate indicate the start of a new letter.]
[Preface by Carol (Mizer) Whiting, a relative of Sarah Alice Troyer Young and the transcriber of the letters and diary:
Sarah Alice Troyer was born in 1871, one of 11 children of John D. and Catharine (Egly) Troyer. She was my Grandmother's sister. These are letters she wrote to her sisters and brothers before she became a Missionary and while in training and when she was in China as a Missionary. Her siblings were Daniel, Marietta, Anna (my grandmother), Lydia, Joseph, Emanline, David, Ellen, Martha, and John. ]
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I am going to make one letter do for all of you this time. It is 8 o'clock pm Carrie and the boys are at North Street at the testimony meeting and I have sent the girls and Mrs Li to bed because Mrs. Li is not well and seemed to tired to wait for prayers. I was glad too to be quiet for my tooth has been aching for two days. Think I have taken cold for I not only ache in the teeth but my whole body is inclining that way. We are having daily meetings this first week of the new year. Mr. Glover has been taking the first three days and tomorrow Mr. S. begins his three days. Mr. Glover's subject has been "The taking out from the church of the bride of Christ". He showed that only those who know the voice of the Spirit and Him are of the bride and only they will be taken up when Christ comes the other believers will be left to go thro' the great tribulation. His talks have been on the (1 V 2 of Rev.) ["Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that beholdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;" Revelation 2:1, KJV] and today the (V of Gen) ["And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Genesis 5:24, KJV] was brought in,"Enoch walked with God" and because of this he was taken up and did not see death. It has been very helpful. He is one of the most Godly men I have ever met.
Some time ago I told you we were invited to eat Christmas dinner at Lu Ling. The time has changed to New Year. Carrie and I went on Thursday and stayed until Monday none of the S's and G's went. Mr. Burrows was there. The last day of the year was mission's day for fasting and prayer. We stayed in our rooms for quiet until 11 o'clock when we met in the sitting room for reading and prayer together. Mr Barrows gave us a nice word on the "continual sacrifice" and the fire of God coming down to consume it and the application offering ourselves up for a continual sacrifice to Him and having the fire of the Holy Ghost come upon us to consume the dross and give us power for service. After this some of us took a light dinner of bread and butter then returned to our own quiet rooms again. New Year's dinner was Quite as good as at home- Roast goose, fowl, dressing, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, stewed onions, tomato and cucumber pickles, catsup: pumpkin pie, plum pudding, walnuts, coffee, or tea among other things were cookies, chocolate and nut cake and peach sauce. How is that for China?
Yesterday about an inch of snow fell it is still lying. Perhaps our winter is now beginning in earnest tho' it is not very cold yet.
The letters are going out a week late this time so give this letter more time to reach America. Not a single home letter by last postman reached poor me! But I've promised not to complain so will be patient. Chinese new year season will be here soon then there will be another delay both in incoming and outgoing mail. Oh I forgot to tell you what I got for Christmas and N.Y.-- a pair of nice shoes, a silk hd'k and a pretty card all from the friends here. enough for tonight. Good Night.
Monday morning Jan. 9 '98 The first week of '98 ended. We have unitedly asked the Lord to make this the best year of our lives and that He will show forth His signs and wonders to confirm the word according to (MK. 16:20). ["And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following, Amen." Mark 16:20, KJV] Carrie and I made another effort to start a women's class, yesterday I went out to invite them in and Carrie received them and preached to them. Four came. We hope soon there will be many more. Four is not bad to start with. Carrie said "if you get one or two it will be good but I don't think they'll come at this time of day". I came back without a single woman took up my Bible and read Jno.21--the account of the fishing party. All night they had caught nothing but when Jesus came on the scene and told them where to cast the net it got very full. Alright, I thought, tho' I have caught not a single fish He will undertake for me and my net shall yet be full. At present it is not the best time as the women are all so busy preparing for the new year. This is the greatest feast time of the whole year and the only real national holiday of the year. All shops are closed and no one goes out upon the street on that one day. The season continues for nearly a month and is mostly spent in idol worship, ancestral worship and visiting. The night before N.Y. day the creditors are out with their lanterns looking for the people who owe them. As long as they need a candle to light them along the dark streets the pursuit may continue but as soon as New Year's day dawns they must return to their homes. At this season there is great scrambling for money and very often the people suddenly become very friendly to us, sending us presents, etc. and afterwards come to borrow money we have learned to know pretty well, and Miss. Gates seldom accepts presents. Others make great professions of faith in the Gospel but when they find they will not get employment or pay to come to our meetings we hear or see nothing more of them at our home. We need to be more careful in taking in people.
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[Written upside down on the upper lefthand corner of the first page.]
I pray that not one of my unsaved brothers may end this year in the same condition.
Jan. 7 '98
My Dear Sister and Bro.:
This is sort of formal "thank you" for the $10 because I have already done so by letter but this must go thro' the mission. We are always expected to send a letter with the receipt. 1898 has arrived. Is it possible that it is almost two years since I landed on Chinese soil! Jan. 30th 1896 at about 3 o'clock I first set foot upon Chinese soil. I cannot realize that it is so long. Three days ago it was two years since we boarded the "Victoria" at Tacoma.
We are having a week of special meetings to begin the new year. Mr. Glover took the first three days giving us lectures on
the preparation and taking out The Bride of Christ. It was very helpful. Mr. Smith has the last three days. Yesterday his word
was "The Holy Spirit Power for service". Our desire is that the Lord may now at the beginning of the year take possession of us in
a new way so that this year more than ever before He may be able to use us for His work. The past year has been much more so
than the previous years and we want this year to be much more fruitful for each one of us than last year was.
Carrie and I spent New Year's day at Luching and had such a nice time. Mr. Burrows of U wu was also there. We stayed from Thursday to Monday. The Smiths and Glovers were invited too but did not go. Friday, Last day of '97 was Mission's day for fasting and prayer. We had a nice quiet time in our rooms until 11 o'clock when we met in the sitting room for reading and prayer together Mr. Burrows gave us a helpful word on "The Continual sacrifice". We again returned to our rooms for quiet. Next day we feasted on roast goose and lots of
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[Start of page 3] Do not think they are all like this for they are not. There are those in our little church here who would suffer for Jesus with joy and do suffer too. They would put to shame the average Christian at home in their Holy lives and earnestness for their Master. A young man, the first native of our city to come out for Jesus has suffered much for the Gospel. He was locked out of his home and has never been allowed to return to live there. Tho' his mother has treated him thus he stills helps support her and prays earnestly that she may be saved. Other have been beaten shamefully.
Our Mrs. Li seems to be coming on nicely. She was at home while we were in Luching. Of course much was said to her by her husband (who has just returned from a trip to Shantong Prov. where his son lives) and her husband's relatives but she says she is not going to pay any attention to what they say tho' we know she has taken it to heart very much for she was so tired and seemed so sad and thoughtful when she came home and even yet is not entirely over it.
Mattie, when you have all read this please forward to Etta, Mary, Anna, Lydia and Ella wherever she may be. I cannot keep track of her.
Hope you are all well as I am. It seems to me I am getting younger than I used to be --Just think! I am not far from thirty and I feel as full of life as tho' I were 16. Once Carrie and I went to Kuantsuen riding the donkey in turns. He always had to go back a good way for her but I could walk almost as fast as he went even when Carrie was going specially fast to get on ahead a good way. Of course he doesn't go as fast as a horse because he takes such short steps. Now, Mother, I think that will satisfy you that I am well. I am getting very much like you mother as I grow old. Sometimes when I look in the glass I can't help staring at the likeness to Mother. This must do [
[Written upside down on back of first page]
good things. Paper full You must be satisfied with this. Your Chinese Sis
[Written upside down on back of third page]
This is my week for visiting Mrs King at Wangfang and hope to go on Sat.
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(1Cor. 6:19,20) ["What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1Corinthians 6:19,20, KJV]
Mar. 28, '98
My Dear Sister:
You must appreciate this letter if it is not long for I do want to be out of doors so much. It is a real trial to have to sit down in the house. The day is perfect. I have just come from sowing some lettuce seed and watching the seeds which were just in a few days ago. When warm weather comes it is very suddenly and one has to throw off wadded clothes for very thin ones. It is not a gradually getting warmer as at home. You say in your letter of Jan. 22 you suppose we had "perfect summer weather'. No, at that time we did not. The weather was dry and bright but not very warm until Feb. when snow came and only about a week ago disappeared. The winters are delightful and the summers are cool here because of the elevation. I seldom used an umbrella last summer. I was glad for your letter, it had been a long time since I heard from you. Thanks for the things you are sending for my birthday and also to Clifford for the papers. I have written a letter to him and the other little ones which I will send by way of Milford (N.V.). Hope he will enjoy it. The things did not come with the letter so I suppose they will come by next mail, just after my birthday. I am anxious to see what they are. How nice your home etc. looks in the cut. I would immensely enjoy a ramble in the woods and a ride on the lake such a day as this. We are so shut up that nothing outside of our little courtyard except the top of two trees over the roofs and the sky can be seen. I sometimes go up stairs to watch the golden setting sun behind the distant city wall from my window. I'd like to send you a sketch of the little view. My room is just above me in the photo. What do you think of our home?
You will soon be busy with your guests again and Ella with you. How happy you will be together. I didn't know Anna and Lizzie live at the Turnace or if I did hear I forgot again. Do you know how they are getting on? And how is Lydia? I hear from her so little that I feel I know nothing about her. It is time for prayer but as I went to sow seed just after dinner Carrie went to take her rest first and has not come down yet, so I am improving the time in this way, as the post goes out tomorrow.
The Lord is putting forth His mighty hand in our behalf and here and there souls are being saved we trust. They are at any rate casting their lot with us. Yesterday Shingmin was rejoiced with the interest of a man for whom he called on his way to the meeting. The man said he wants to be saved and will go to the evening meetings to learn the Gospel--Carrie has come--prayers.
I am hoping soon to go up in the hills to see some old women who are interested in the Gospel. Carrie is hoping to go with me and I will be glad to have her. I do not like going alone so well as to have some one with me. Sometime ago she started with me but we did not stay long for she got one of her bad headaches and also the road was so bad that we thought best to come back and wait. Now one thing and another is coming in the way so that we can not go just now.
I must now hurry for we are going to see a woman who came here the other day for help. She wept as she told me the story of their loss thro' her son's opium smoking. Oh this opium is such a curse to poor old China. Family after family is ruined by it. The people themselves say that, that has ruined China and especially this province. We have just had a good opportunity of knowing how it binds the poor people. A woman came to break off at the North St. she took no medicine so when the craving came in she just raved with the pain. The disease which had been quieted by the opium for three years was let loose and in three days carried her away she had been a witch and said many devils possessed her. Special prayer was made for the casting out of these devils and from that time until a few hours before her death the severe pain was gone. I have written more fully about this case to Mattie and as she passes on her letters to Ella I'll not go in to details here.
[Written sideways on the upperleft corner of the first page.]
Love to C.J. and Clifford and a lot for yourself and Ella.
When you have finished with the diary please send to Mrs. A. E. Arrington
809 - 31th Ave.
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Lugan Fu, Shansi Prov.
Apr. 26, ‘98
I want to give you an account of my last trip to the hill villages. I was happy to have a foreign companion which it is not my joy often to have. Thur. morning Apr 14th we left home on donkeys for Hang Fang 50 li away. We took dinner in an inn half way between here and there. We found Mrs. Kim prepared for our coming for she had heard from one of the Christians of a few days before that we hoped to go. We arrived at her house about 3:30 o'clock. No women came in so I went to a neighbors who always comes in while we are at Mrs. Kings and sometimes stays to prayers. We had prayers with Mrs. Kim and her two children in the courtyard before dark. A number of women came in also some men. The two children of Mrs. K are soon to leave her. The daughter who is married, for her husband's home and the son, age fourteen years for his father's people he is the son of Mrs. K by her first husband and she has only been permitted to keep him until he is able to work. Her heart was very sad about this and we could understand it to. The daughter is a nice young girl of 17 years who seems very interested in the Gospel, tho' her husbands people are so opposed. Here we remained for the two nights we were out. The second day was very full. We arose early and started for Fung Shang. where Mako's (Mark's) home is (He is in business with another Christian in Zaii a few miles away) his wife professes to be willing to follow the Lord but shows no signs of a desire to do so. We found her ill or at least quite lame; the office of (as they say) "giving birth to anger" with a relative. It is a common thing in China for people to make themselves ill and sometimes crippled for life thro' fits of anger. One woman in the city has withered hands and a curved spine caused by a fit of anger.
Next door to Mako's wife lives an old woman who heard the gospel from Mrs. Studd first. She has put away her idols and says she trusts in God, but she seems to be in a bad condition for God to do anything with her. She thinks she is good, especially so because she has accepted the Jesus religion and it hard to make her know her need of a savior.
From here we went on to Za u and took dinner at Mako's bread shop after which we started out again for a village which we had not visited before where lives another woman who heard the Gospel from Mrs. Studd. We have not, long known of her. Leaving Tau we went along in a valley for some distance then began to ascend a long and high hill, bare and rocky. Half way up the side we passed two coal mines, or pits rather, for they are just like big wells from which the coal is drawn by two men as water is drawn from a well. I dismounted from my little donkey and led him up and down the other side. Reaching the bottom I rested on the high stone steps of a temple till Mrs. Gates and Shing min came up. A little farther and we passed thro' a village where a boy who directed us announced our coming. The whole village it seemed had gathered along the sides of the street along which we passed. From this on the way was level and we went quickly until we reached the little village nestled between two hills. At the bottom lay the narrow street while away up on either side were the caves and houses of the inhabitants with only space for the small door yard between the perpendicular walls of the hill at the back and the road which lay 15 or 25 ft directly below. We made inquires for the home of the woman and soon found it. She was so glad to see us and seemed very decided in a way but she too thought she knew enough and we need not trouble to come to teach her for she is to old to come to the city, and she can pray in her own home that would do. No idols were about and the people say she belongs to the "Jesus Kias". Crowds of friendly women came about but only a few to hear what we wanted to say. They wanted us to stay and when they found we could not, urged us to come again. We could not stay long this time for we still had to return to Nandfang for the night. Our animals went well and we reached our destination at dusk. Just before reaching Nangfang our animals seeming to know that we were near to our stopping place started in a quick pace. Suddenly mine stumbled and fell and away I went over his head. My Father was with me to protect, so I rec'd not the slightest injury. Next day after prayer with Mrs. Kim we started home.
Last Lord's day Apr. 14th we had a good day. It was the time of the monthly gathering. The house was full of people. Three stood up and said during the last month they had decided for Christ. One by one they are bro't in. Praise the Lord!
Yours in the Master's Service.
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[Written sideways in the upper lefthand corner of the first page]
To Anna, Ella, Lydia, and Mallie
"Our Sufficiency is of God"
Chang tsi hsien, Dec. 12 '98
You see from the heading of this letter that I am not at home. Carrie and I are staying in an inn in this city. We came a week ago and expect to stay another one. We have with us Mrs. Chang, Shingmin and the converted cobbler, Kuo hai shuai. The first to help us receive the women and the last mentioned to receive the men who came about. We have a nice large room ( to be sure it might be cleaner than it is ) where we and Mrs. C. live while the boys live outside in the general room. As the coal which is used here is not the best we thought we could not stand the open fires which let all the gas into the room and brought with us a little stove which Mr. Glover kindly offered us. We have it set up with the pipe out of the top of the window and find it works splendidly. This city is one of the second class but it is not a nice one. The people seem to be far less industrious than our own people at Luanfu and there are even more opium smokers than there. Sometimes out of a company of five or six four or five are opium takers. We can tell them at once by their deathly faces and black teeth. This city is only about 50 li from Luanfu but there is a great difference in the people and even the language differ very much. So that the first days we had some difficulty in understanding the people and they much more in understanding us especially when we spoke of the Gospel which they had not heard before. Until today we had crowds from morning till night so that when night came we had sore heads and sore throats. Today a cold wind is blowing which is evidently keeping them in doors. They are a dirty, untidy class of women. The city, too, is untidy and not a pure breath of air can be got inside. The houses are mostly of mud bricks and even the city wall is of the same. We sometimes take walks out into the country late in the P.M. to get some quiet and a good breath of air. I tell you it is a treat after having the silly questions of crowds of Chinese women fired at you all day to get out away from everybody and have some time for quite thought.
Mr. and Mrs. Glover spent Sunday with us leaving this morning for Uangfang which is a good days journey from here. They are on their first trip to the homes of the Christians and inquirers. They left home last Thursday and before reaching us on Saturday had been to three places. It was so nice to have them here. They are so nice and Mr. Glover is always such a help, spiritually, to me. He can not talk much Chinese yet. It seems very difficult for him. Mrs. G is getting on so nicely with the language. They are hoping to visit uangfang, Da ii and other villages which I thought of going to as soon as we go home from here but now I shall not need to as they are going. If the weather remains favorable we shall probably visit more new places. But it looks as tho' real winter is on now and probably snow will fall soon then it will not be well to venture out as the snow drifts so.
We are much in prayer for a woman and her son who seems to be prepared by the spirit for receiving the Lord. The woman comes in nearly every day. The second day she brought two Gospels to take home for her son to read and the following day when she came told us what her son had read to her. Today she came saying that her daughter-in-law is very much opposed to her and her son having anything to do with the foreigners. They were speaking of destroying their idols but I suppose the daughter-in-law has put a stop to that for the present. We are praying that Satan may be over thrown in this case, and that this family may be the first fruits of Chang tsi hsien.
Wednesday, Dec. 14. I have just returned from a visit to the home of a woman who came to see us this morning. She wanted us to go to her home but as we would not know the way alone I said " If you wait till I've had my dinner I'll go with you". After she had some tea we went and I had a nice time in her home taking some food with them and afterward she took me to a neighbor's where I had another opportunity of speaking of the love of Jesus to an opium wreck of a woman. The women are really friendly and many have been in who listened well and seemed to believe too. Carrie thinks perhaps this will be her future home. The women are continually asking us to stay longer and many have asked us to go to their homes. Mrs. Chang has gone this P.M. to see the woman who has shown so much interest in the Gospel. She was not here all day yesterday and it looks like the devil has got the victory but we must continue to believe and pray.
D.V. when we go back to the Fu (Luanfu) I shall go for a few days to Lu chi ing to have Mary attend to a tooth out of which the filling has come. Mary is alone too, much of the time so it will do her good to have me for a little time.
John may come to spend Christmas or new years so I cannot stay long at Luching. It will now be only a short time until I shall have to begin to get ready to go to the coast, and I am not sorry, Ella, ( tho' I did not say I love John in my other letter will not expressions like this tell the story?) He is at his last section by this time and will probably finish it by March or Apr. I shall go down some time before him so as to do all our buying etc. that we may leave directly after our marriage. If it is not to late we shall spend some time at Chefu or pei tai he before coming on inland. If late, our honeymoon will be spent in a little boat on the river and in mule litters on our way to our station which we must reach before the rainy season comes on. By the time this reaches you I'll be getting ready to start down. When you are raising you may think of me as just spreading my bed on the bricks preparing to lay down my weary bones to rest until about four o'clock next morning when we get up and jump into our clothes as soon as possible. When all of our things are gathered up and we have a cup of hot cocoa off we go into our litter before it is raised to the animal's backs. Sometimes one can get a little sleep after starting but not unless you can sleep sitting upright, and that not always very comfortable.
The letters came in late Friday evening, but none from any of you. Thanks Ella, for the $ you sent. "In-as-much". John writes that he will not come before Chinese New Year (Feb. 9th) then he will have finished his sections and we'll go from here to the coast. He is doing remarkably well with his study, but I'm afraid he is studying to hard. He was feeling very tired. You can understand something about what he is doing when I tell you that he is doing three sections in six months which are not often done in so short a time as three years. A year a section is stated time in the "Practices" of the mission. We go home tomorrow morning. Good by
Your Chinese Sister
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[This letter, with the same date and most of the same text as the previous letter, appears to be written in a different hand and misspells many of the words correctly spelled in the previous letter. Perhaps it was an edited version of the letter intended for publication in a newspaper of mission periodical. The file also contains a typed version of this second version of the December 12 letter.]
Chang tse Sien
North China Dec 12, 98.
"Our Sufficiency is of God"
You will see from the heading of this letter that I am not at home, Carrie and I are staying in an Inn in this city. We have been here one week and expect to stay another week. We have with us Mrs. Chang, and a converted Cobbler. The women to help us receive the Women and the man to receive the men who come about.
We have a nice large room (to be sure it could be cleaner than it is) but we are greatful to him who has said"I will supply all your needs".
As the coal which is used is not very good we thought we could not stand the open fires which let all the gas into the room and brought with us a little stove which Mr. Glover kindly offered us. We have it set up with the pipe out of the window and find it works splindidly. This city is one of the 2 nd class but is not a nice one. The people seem to be far less industrions than our people at Lu-an-fu and there are even more opium smokers than there,usualyy out of a company of 5 or 6 4 or 5 are opium takers. We can tell them at a glance by their deathly faces and black teeth. This city is only about 50 miles from ours but there is a great difference in the people and even the language differs very much so that the first few days we had difficulty in understanding the people and they much more in understanding us specially when we spoke of the Gosple which they had never heard before.
Until today we have had crowds from morning until night so that when night came we had tired heads and sore throats. Today a cold wind is blowing which is evidently keeping them in doors. They are a dirty untidy class of people, but yet they have a Precious Soul to be saved. The city, too, is untidy and not a pure breath of air can be had inside it's walls. The houses are mostly of mud brick and even the city wall is of the same. Carrie and I sometimes take walks in the country late in the afternoon to have a quite hour and get a good breath of air. It is such a treat to be alone with the Lord after trying to answer the many questions of crowds of Chinese Women and trying to teach them of a Saviours love.
We are much in prayer for a women and her son who seem to be prepared by the spirit for receiving the word. The woman comes in nearly every day, the second day she came she brought two Gospels to take home to her Son, and the following day came and told us what her Son had read to her. Today she came saying that her daughter-in-law is very much opposed to her and her Son having anything to do with the forighners. We are praying that Saten may be over thrown and this family may be the first fruits of our labors in this city. Will you not pray with us for these people?
Two days later. I have just returned from a visit to the home of a Women who came to see us this morning and wanted us to go to her home I had a nice time in her home taking some food and speaking to them of the love of Jesus.
The Women are real friendly and many have been in already who listened well and seemed to believe too. They are continially asking us to stay longer and asking us to go their homes."Behold the harvest is white, all ready to harvest",but where are the reapers.
When you are rising in the morning you may think of me as just spreading my bed on the brick preparing to rest until about four o'clock in the morning when we get up and dress hastily and gather up our beds then we have a cup of hot Cocoa and are ready for whatever work the Lord may see fit to give us.
By aiding us with your prayers you are helping in this great work in dark, dark China.
Your Chinese Sister
S. Alice Troyer
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