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President/CEO of Water Street Ministries

Melissa Alcorn

Executive Director of Lydia Center

Steve Brubaker Chief Vision Officer

Jack Crowley

Executive Director of Teen Haven Executive Director of Wonder Club Early Learning Centers


Dear Water Street Ministries Partners,

Steve Gentino

Chief Financial Officer

Scooter Haase

Vice President of Operations of Water Street Ministries Executive Director of Water Street Mission

Paul Pearce

Vice President of Advancement

Colleen Elmer

Executive Director of Water Street Health Services

WATER STREET MINISTRIES BOARD OF DIRECTORS David Thompson, Chairperson Michael S. Burkholder, Vice Chairperson Frank C. Chesters, Esq., Treasurer Guy Eshelman, Secretary Scott Boyd Reyna Britton Tom Despard Charles R. Mershon, M.D. Michael D. Novak Anne Pierson Mike Sigman Marlin H. Thomas

WATER STREET HEALTH SERVICES BOARD OF DIRECTORS Charles R. Mershon, M.D., Chairperson Anne-Marie Derrico, M.D., Secretary Mike FitzGerald, Treasurer Reyna Britton Robert Doe, M.D. Lisa Hess Benetta Rapier Roger Strause, D.D.S.

In this issue of the Messenger you will hear some gritty firsthand accounts of individuals who have messed up and moved on. A child in the Wonder Club Early Learning Center who is just starting out and learning the rules of a classroom, or a middle aged man facing his 3rd or 4th relapse in his recovery; each story illustrates the need for a measure of God’s grace. As you will read in the stories here, God can use our mistakes to make us better versions of ourselves and, even more importantly, to increase in our dependence on Him (a WSM core value). As staff at Water Street Ministries we are often reminded that none of us are perfect spouses, none of us are perfect parents and none of us are perfect employees! When we recognize our own shortcomings, our eyes are opened to our individual need to learn and grow. Another one of our organizational core values is “Grace as our model”. James 4:6 instructs us that grace only comes to the humble. Owning up to our mistakes can be a rich practice of humbling ourselves before God and others. This posture of humility allows us to receive God’s gift of grace into our own lives and grants us the capacity to be gracious to others when we are hurt by their failings. We are all flawed at the foot of the cross. It doesn’t matter if we sleep on the street or in a warm bed; whether we have a job that pays well and meets all our needs or barely pays enough to survive. We all require the grace of Christ’s sacrifice to enjoy the presence of our all-consuming God and be transformed into His image. Hebrews 10:10 says, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…for by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy,” (NIV). Thank you for your continued investment in the work of Water Street Ministries. May you, too, continue to be “made holy” as you follow Christ. Sincerely,


Jere Shertzer President & CEO

Water Street Ministries PO Box 7267 Lancaster, PA 17604


Call Sharon at (717) 358-2028 during regular business hours.

ON THE COVER At Water Street Ministries, our vision is to create healing communities where lives are transformed. Pray for us as we strive to walk hand-in-hand, with our clients and with each other, through the mistakes and struggles in life. EDITOR'S NOTE Throughout this publication, names have been changed to protect privacy.



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Water Street Ministries

Maturity Through Mistakes

Wonder Club Early Learning Centers

Love & Patience Won

Teen Haven

God Wanted Better for Her

10 Water Street Mission Walls of Fear Crumble

11 Lydia Center

God's Love Pursued Her

12 Water Street Health Services

An Aha Moment Leads to Life Change

13 Events

» Tea & Tour at the Lydia Center » Tour our Prince Street Campus » Golf Tournament: Drive Away Hunger » Save the Date: Annual Dinner » Save the Date: Family Day » Save the Date: Women's Conference

14 Volunteer

Let's Show Them » Volunteer Opportunities

15 Donate

» Needed Items » Sponsor a Camper

Don't Miss a Thing!

Sign up for the ePrayer Calendar or the eMessenger Go to


MATURITY THROUGH MISTAKS WHY & WHEN MESSING UP IS GOOD FOR US Steve Brubaker Chief Vision Officer, Water Street Ministries

Before I had kids, I was a great parent. Now as the father of two girls I can tell you that I am neither a great parent nor an awful one. Few things have brought me to my knees, though, like the challenges that come from day-today child-raising. One time, our then-teenage daughter was faced with a difficult decision. She came to my wife and me and wanted us to make the decision for her. We honestly did not know the ‘right’ answer nor were we able to offer her any advice. So we yielded to our ignorance, encouraged our daughter to please God in whatever choice she made, and prayed with her for wisdom. She did make her choice, and in retrospect, she made a wise decision.

It’s Not Easy Yet, this incident reminds me of how easy it is to make decisions for others as we try to insulate them from hurt. How easy it would have been to tell our daughter what to do, as any caring parent doesn’t want to see their child experience adverse consequences from a poor decision. This compulsion to decide for our children is not unlike what the staff in any of our divisions faces everyday as children, youth, women, the homeless and the sick look to us – all experts in parenting of course – for answers. Yet it seems more important – and more difficult for the parent – that our children struggle to arrive at decisions


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on their own even if their choice is construed by those older and wiser as a ‘mistake!’

Attitude is Key Fear of making a mistake is a paralyzing condition. Our desire to look good to each other, our insecurity, our morbid regret for past mistakes and our almost instinctive ability to blame others when we err all work to keep us from risktaking and admitting to each other when we do fail. It seems our attitude toward our mistakes is key. Are we able to see mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow so they no longer serve to keep us mired in guilt and indecision? As an organization we have worked hard to promote an atmosphere where it’s okay to make a mistake where each staff member, each child, each teen, each woman, each individual in homelessness and each patient is free to try and fail and then able to admit that same failure.

True Heart Change This culture of offering grace to each other is neither license nor law. It is a place where patient, client, young person and staff member can freely acknowledge their imperfection in this process of becoming more like Jesus. It is a place of safety where weaknesses and failure provide glimpses into the deeper issues

RIGHT: Learning Center Instructor, Sue, helps Antoine prepare for his GED test.

of the heart. It is a place of risk where staff members are vulnerable and the people we serve are held accountable to their choices. And it is a place where true heart change occurs not through compulsion or coercion to conform but by the prompting and power of the Holy Spirit. It’s interesting that the risen Jesus appeared to Peter after Peter had so dramatically failed to stand by Jesus as He moved toward the crucifixion. After all it was Peter who said he would lay down his life for Jesus. It was Peter who wanted to follow Jesus no matter what. And it was Peter who finally denied Jesus three times when given the opportunity to stand up for Him. So the stance of Jesus toward Peter is utterly amazing.

If our steps are truly directed toward God, doesn't it make sense that our stumbles and missteps are part and parcel of that direction? Even though Peter failed Him, Jesus reinstated him even giving him a ministry assignment that included the important task of caring for those who follow God. And Peter grew in maturity through his mistakes!

ABOVE: When Mr. Joe volunteers at Wonder Club, he helps model the balance of love, discipline and the opportunity to start over.

So Must We If our steps are truly directed toward God, doesn’t it make sense that our stumbles and missteps are part and parcel of that direction? And just as God gives grace as He works through the mistakes of an imperfect parent to somehow raise responsible children, He grows us through our mistakes by teaching us about our frailty - and need for Him - and His faithfulness. 

“If he stumbles, he's not down for long; GOD has a grip on his hand.” Psalm 37:24 (The Message)

Spring 2012




By Lorraine Brandt Administrator, Wonder Club Early Learning Centers

Learning is a process. Some things are learned quickly; others take weeks, or months, or even years to learn. And many times we learn by first making mistakes. Think of a small baby learning to walk. Once able to stand upright, the child will walk round and round furniture, holding on for dear life. Then one day, he will let go and take a few tentative steps on his own until boom, he falls on the floor. Is that the end of learning to walk? Does he give up and quit? Absolutely not. He will get up and try again and again until one day he is not just walking across the room, but running across it. So it is with the four and five year olds we see on a daily basis. They come to school self-absorbed in their own little worlds, where they have been the center of the universe from the moment of birth. Now they are surrounded by other children, and the need to learn how to get along with others is amplified. It is not a process that comes naturally. One such child in our program was Josh. Entering preschool for the first time, he had no concept of interacting with anyone other than adults. Even then he was shy around those he did not know. He stood in the corner refusing to play with or look at anyone else.


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Miss Nicole, his Wonder Club teacher, began by first establishing a relationship with the adults who brought him to school, talking to them and including the

Josh is free to make mistakes and yet know he is loved and accepted. boy in a non-threatening way in the conversation. As Josh became comfortable, she invited him to play but did not insist he join in. Gradually his interest in what was going on drew him out of the corner and next to the teacher. As weeks went by, Miss Nicole’s love and patience won out. It took several months but today Josh comes into the classroom with a greeting for the teacher, looks for his friends and initiates play experiences with them. Individual attention and building a relationship with both the child and his parent has helped to develop a secure loving environment where Josh is free to make mistakes and yet know he is loved and accepted. 

TEEN HAVEN (717) 393-2716

GOD WANTED BETTER FOR HER By Jack Crowley Executive Director, Teen Haven

Helping teens find the freedom to hear from God and respond to what He is saying and doing in their lives is what Teen Haven is all about. More than high quality Bible study lessons, program structure, or recreational activities,

The most important thing we can do is create an environment where teens feel completely safe to be themselves. we’ve found that the most important thing we can do is create an environment where teens feel completely safe to be themselves. That means that no matter their struggles, sin or shame, our goal is that teens will trust us enough to be completely open with us.

ABOVE: Natacha and staff leader Nina at the Heir Born Bible study group at Teen Haven. RIGHT: Pray for all the girls in the bible study.

Nina, our Lancaster Girls Coordinator, recently shared about how the healing environment at Teen Haven has impacted one young lady: "Julie was a sweet kid from the beginning. Through the 2 years she’s been plugged into Teen Haven, we have known her to be polite and always attentive during Bible studies and devotions. But recently, she was living with guilt and a burden. "Just last week she openly admitted with me that she had had sex with her boyfriend. She recognized it was wrong and felt like God wanted her to break up with him. She specifically said, “God is talking to me. I asked Him to show me a sign, and He did.” "She continued to tell me how God was capturing her and getting the attention of her heart. She also shared that she made a commitment to God and found a ring, put it on and made it her purity ring. I didn’t tell her to do this.

God was pouring His grace upon her, and she recognized it and responded. "Her story is all about the healing environment. She heard God, took personal responsibility, trusted in God’s redemption and received His forgiveness. Plus she felt safe enough at Teen Haven to share her failure with us and seek out accountability. "The next day, Julie broke up with the young man, not because I told her to, but because she knew God wanted better for her." Rejoice with us over the work God is doing in the lives of teens like Julie through Teen Haven. And rejoice over the truth that “there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ,” (Romans 8:1, NIV)! 

Spring 2012


Making Your Dollars Go Farther

Last year a donor provided several new hot water heaters, 28 new water-saving toilets and 136 energy-efficient light fixtures at no cost to Water Street Ministries. Paired with other changes, these donations will help to make your donations go farther!

Good Stewardship: The Lydia center used $6,000 less in gas due to better insulation, on demand hot water heaters and digital thermostats. At our Prince Street Campus, we saw a 3% reduction in electric usage in one building and 6% in another due to improved insulation, lighting timers and donated energy-efficient lights. In April 2011, we started recycling our organic waste on our Prince Street Campus. Thus far we have seen $2,340 in savings by recycling this waste. In March we renegotiated our cell phone contracts and will see an extra $4,000 in savings yearly.


Water Street Ministries Messenger

All symbols are from collection. “Piggy Bank” symbol is by Brock Kenzler. “Money” symbol is by John Caserta. "Movie" symbol is by Anna Weiss. "Clapperboard" symbol is by NDSTR.



Because of you, men, women and families are moving from hurt to hope. Because of you, lives are being changed.

Join Water Street Ministries this Spring for Changed, a campaign inspiring you to keep up the good work.

Read Stories

Watch Videos

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Water Street Spring 2012




By David Miller Learning Center Instructor, Water Street Mission

At the Water Street Mission, the phrase grace and truth over time is a key concept in how we minister. You see it not only in staff-to-client relationships but also staff-to-staff relationships. Here in Joe’s account, he experienced the freedom to make mistakes without feeling shame (grace) while being held accountable for the consequences (truth) in his life journey (time). Paired with God’s help, personal and spiritual growth can then occur. It’s a healing environment where lives are transformed. Joe was struggling. Most men do at some point during the LifeRecovery Program. However, his struggles were mighty, to the point of jeopardizing his stay in the program. He was terrified. The thought of being back on the street made him tremble. He didn’t want to go back to that life. It’s not that Joe’s problems were insurmountable. In fact, they might seem small to someone else. It was that he had trouble seeing them. He needed


Water Street Ministries Messenger

someone to give him insight, to speak truth to him, to help him remove the blinders that covered his eyes. He knew it would be a painful process. Having someone point out your weaknesses is like lancing a wound; it must be done in order for the healing to begin, but the

They could easily recount each sin and make him suffer for them. But that didn't happen. initial pain is often too much to bear. So they gathered with him: his friends, from whom he could not hide; his counselor, who knew his fears and secrets; his teacher, who saw his frustrations come to the surface as he struggled with his studies. They knew him. They knew how he had failed. If they wanted to,

they could make him squirm like a bug. They could easily recount each sin and make him suffer for them. But that didn’t happen. As Joe sat nervously in his chair, expecting the fiery darts, none came. One by one, the men around the circle shared their hearts. They affirmed him. There was grace. Joe knew that each one there cared for him. Make no mistake, they spoke truth. They said some things that were hard for him to hear. But because of the love they had shown over their six months of knowing him, they had earned the right to speak into his life. His nervousness subsided. He began to listen intently to each word, soaking in the truths being spoken. The walls of fear crumbled. Did his struggles go away? No. Did he understand what he needed to change in his life? Maybe. But he did find that evening, in that circle of men, the body of Christ. He was not alone. He now had hope. 

LEFT: David, Director of the Learning & Career Center, builds relationships with Mission graduates who are looking for employment.

LYDIA CENTER (717) 252-5986

RIGHT: Pictured with her mom, Katie graduated from the Lydia Center in March.

GOD'S LOVE PURSUED HER By Melissa Alcorn Executive Director, Lydia Center

Katie was angry with the world when “[Being away from the Lydia Center] she entered the Lydia Center last July. was a very humbling experience,” Katie She came to us in lieu of a prison sen- said, “because I really had to look at the tence. At age 24, her plan was to do just fact that I didn’t have my attitudes, emoenough to get by: finish our 6-month pro- tions, relationships, etc. all together. [It] gram and be free. helped me be thankful for the safe enAfter three months, her anger rose to vironment at the Lydia Center where I a dangerous level through a threat of vio- could work on my recovery.” lence. Threats are a house safety issue, meaning that for the safety of the Lydia Center clients, the woman must leave the program. So Katie was asked to leave for two weeks to allow her to consider how serious she was about her recovery. Katie’s options at that point were limited, and she feared she would go back to prison. Katie’s mom recounts, “When I got off the phone call telling me that Katie Since her return to our program, Katie was leaving the Lydia Center, I felt sick. says she has learned how to have healthI thought she was going back to jail. Re- ier relationships, how to have and give acflecting on that time, I see she needed countability, how to resolve conflict and a break to see how lucky she was. I felt much more. Through her mistakes, Katie it was part of the journey she needed to was able to see God’s love pursuing her travel.” and bringing her back to the Lydia Center. Katie’s case went back to court, and Katie says, “I’m excited to carry all that she proposed that she go to a different I’ve learned into my personal and profesrecovery program that required less ac- sional life and to share my story with othcountability. The judge said no, that she ers, in hopes that it will help them.” should complete the program she started. Rejoice with us for God’s work in womWhen the Lydia Center clients all agreed en’s lives like Katie’s. Romans 8:28 says, to welcome Katie back, she was able to “…in all things God works for the good return with a different perspective. of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (NIV). 

Through her mistakes, Katie was able to see God's love pursuing her and bringing her back...

Spring 2012


WATER STREET HEALTH SERVICES Medical (717) 358-2017 Dental (717) 358-2011


By Colleen Elmer Executive Director, Water Street Health Services One of the most difficult parts of being in a helping profession is allowing those we serve to make decisions that can have devastating consequences. In the medical profession, we actually have the evidence—lab results, blood pressure readings, etc.—that demonstrate the impact that poor decisions are having on an individual’s health and well-being. And we can use this evidence to educate and inform but not to coerce a change in behavior. Staying engaged with individuals who have a history of making poor choices can be very difficult as we, the professionals, often lose hope and feel helpless. But periodically, we are able to be a part of someone’s aha moment when they are able to turn their life around. What follows is the story of one such patient. Stan was one of our patients at Water Street Health Services whom we had served for years without any real breakthroughs in him taking responsibility for his health. He had multiple health prob-


Water Street Ministries Messenger

lems, including diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which were uncontrolled due to Stan’s unwillingness to follow his medication regime and nutritional plan. Concurrent to his health spiraling out of control, he described his life as having

"Do you want to know what will give meaning to your life?" no meaning. He had a trail of past bad relationships and a life marked by loneliness. During one of his routine medical check-ups at Water Street Health Services, his doctor began to discuss his physical and mental health concerns and asked the question, “Do you want to know what will give meaning to your life?” When Stan responded affirmatively, the

doctor shared a number of scriptures with him, and by the end of the appointment, he gave his life to Christ. We are excited that Stan is no longer a patient at Water Street Health Services, as he has found stable employment and now has medical insurance. But at his last visit prior to leaving us, he had a positive attitude about his health and was starting to make some positive changes. He voiced that in the past he was unable to focus on his health or his future as he had no reason to live. But once he found meaning in his life, he now had the motivation to fix his health. Stories like Stan’s give us hope for other patients whose situations seem hopeless. Allowing others to make mistakes and be willing to walk alongside them regardless of their choices is a model that we embrace. It allows our patients time to learn, and it allows God time to work. 



Referral Resource Day For doctor's offices and counseling agencies, learn how your clients can benefit from the Lydia Center's 6-month residential recovery program.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 210 South Prince Street, Lancaster Saturday, October 6, 2012 Free parking. Free food. Free live music. More details to come.

Same weekend as Lancaster ArtWalk!



Save the Date

Sunday, September 16, 2012 Double Tree Resort 2416 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster More details to come.

8:30 to 10:00 a.m. OR

Thursday, May 10, 2012 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. For Address, Directions & RSVP Call Jennifer at 252-5986 x110 or email

A praise and worship musical starring Donald Braswell of ‘America’s Got Talent’ fame. Living Waters Theatre, Strasburg. All tickets free, but donations are accepted. A portion of the proceeds from the 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. shows on June 23rd benefits Water Street Ministries.


Golf Tournament Friday, June 15, 2012 Tanglewood Manor Golf Club 7:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. To Register Yourself or Your Foursome Download a registration form at or call Evelyn at 358-2032. Space is limited. Please register by June 1. Proceeds benefit the Water Street Mission

Women's Conference Save the Date

Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the Lydia Center More details to come.

For Ticket Details & More

Spring 2012



volunteer LET'S SHOW THEM!

By Pearl Parks Volunteer Coordinator, Water Street Ministries

Volunteers, you are a key component in cultivating this healing environment we have been talking about. You are the hands and feet of our ministry—the first face someone sees as they step foot in Water Street Mission seeking shelter, the listening ear for a Teen Haven student sharing about trouble with friends, the compassionate healthcare provider at Water Street Health Services. There are so many opportunities we have every day to provide a visible expression of God’s love to the people we serve. This is critical because our understanding of God’s love can be so profoundly impacted by how others treat us, especially when we make mistakes. Brennan Manning writes, “Barring [God’s grace at work within us], we humans simply will not accept our life and being as God’s gracious gift unless someone values us. ‘We can only sense ourselves and our world valued and cherished by God when we feel valued and cherished by others.’ “ (Manning, Brennan. A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred. HarperSanFrancisco-Harper Collins: New York, 2003. p35) I’ll always remember a comment from Daniel, a graduate from the Water Street Mission’s LifeRecovery Program. He shared that before his experience at the Mission, he had no way of understanding God’s love, because no one had ever shown him what true love looked like. “I needed someone to show me,” he said. Let’s show them!  ABOVE: Pearl Parks, Volunteer Coordinator, shares what she learned from Brennan Manning's book, A Glimpse of Jesus.

Volunteer Opportunities

For more information, contact Pearl at (717) 358-2040 or email To see all available volunteer opportunities, visit Lydia Center or Water Street Mission Drivers Join this rewarding work of forming relationships while helping clients get to necessary appointments! We would contact you as opportunities come up to see if you’re available. Water Street Health Services Custodian Show our clients they are valued by keeping the clinics bright and clean. 2-3 hours weekly on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday afternoon. Kid Mentor Plan and supervise Bible studies or activities for the children in the shelter while their parents are participating in program requirements. Great opportunity to invest in kids! Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays weekly, 6:45-8:15PM.


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donate Thank you to everyone who donated food or finances to help provide 44,000 meals this Easter season! Needed Items Baby Wipes & Diapers (Sizes 4, 5 & 6) At any given time, about 10 to 15 babies in diapers are living at the Mission. Help keep them safe and dry! Drop off your donations at our Collection Center, facing Conestoga Street, at our Prince Street Campus. Hours: Mon/Fri: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sat: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Single Bed Frames, Mattresses & Box Springs (New or Gently Used) Your donation will help someone in need, like a family moving out of homelessness, to set up their new home! Because donations are low, families are waiting 3-4 months to be helped. Call Dean at (717) 393-7709 x0 or email Bunk Bed Mattresses for Cabins at Teen Haven’s Camp Help provide a comfortable place to sleep for the 500 campers we hope to see this summer. Call Mari at (717) 393-2716 or email

Have you ever felt like you were to share the Good News with someone else, but you got caught up in the "how" and "when?" At Teen Haven, we have the unique opportunity to tell urban teens about Jesus in an atmosphere where they will be most receptive to the message of salvation. Here is one way you can tell others about Jesus - when they need it most - that you can't get wrong! You can sponsor a camper and leave the details of how, when and where to us. Please accept our invitation to sponsor a camper and change a life! To learn more about Teen Haven camp and find out how you can sponsor a camper or involve your church, visit or contact Mari at (717) 358-2057 or

The most helpful gift is a financial gift! We invite you to send a donation using the enclosed envelope, donate online at or make a credit card donation by phone by calling Sue at (717) 358-2031 or Sharon at (717) 358-2028 during regular business hours.

Spring 2012


PO Box 7267 Lancaster, PA 17604-7267

Annual Giving Campaign: July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012* GOAL $4,262,392 Contributions budget for 2011-12 CURRENT $3,757,692 Contributions as of March 26, 2012 *To increase efficiency and effectiveness, Water Street Ministries has switched from a calendar year to a July-June fiscal year. The official registration and financial information of Water Street Ministries and Water Street Health Services may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.



Because of you, men, women and families are moving from hurt to hope. Because of you, lives are being changed.

Join Water Street Ministries this Spring for Changed, a campaign inspiring you to keep up the good work.

Read Stories

Watch Videos

Submit Your Own

WE WELCOME YOUR LETTERS AND COMMENTS! Editor, Messenger Magazine Water Street Ministries 210 South Prince St. PO Box 7267 Lancaster, PA 17604 Email: Phone: (717) 393-7709 See and read more at our website: To "Like" us on Facebook, visit:

Messenger Spring '12  

In our Messenger Magazine, produced quarterly, learn how God is changing one life at a time through the five divisions of Water Street Minis...

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