Serving Moldova

The Power of Prayer

The power of prayer, do we fully understand what that means in our lives as Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Has our life or another’s life been affected or changed as a result of the power of prayer through our personal prayers or someone interceding on our behalves? What is the power of prayer? According to the Bible, the power of prayer is quite simply the power of God, He is the one who hears and answers.  The Lord Almighty can do all things, Luke 1:37 says, For with God nothing shall be impossible. The Lord Almighty wants us to pray to Him in Faith, just as James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. The Lord Almighty also hears our prayers, Psalms 18:6 says, In my distress, I called to the LordI cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into his ears. Lastly, The Lord Almighty answers our prayers, The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles, according to Psalms 34:17. So do you believe in the power of prayer, according to these verses we should believe and never doubt the power of prayer.

As a family, we believe in the power of prayer and have seen the results of praying first-hand. We are thankful and grateful for all the prayers lifted up in our name along with many answered prayers but I wanted to share with you about how the power of prayer has changed one man’s life here in Moldova. His name is Alex and he lives in the village of Bransesti located in the eastern region of Moldova. I always say everyone has a story but Alexi story is different, his story is the result of the power of prayer. Some may remember him from previous social media posts and or emails but I have never written a blog about him. I felt it best to write his story now and feel as thou his story will be an encouragement to many who are struggling now with health issues, relationship difficulties or spiritual warfare for God will answer our prayers.

I first met Alex is November 2015, I thought there was no hope for Alex but many people began to pray specifically for him. He lives in the village of Branesti where he grew up. His mother died when he was a teenager resulting in both him and his father turning to alcohol as a source of relief from the pain and poverty. The death of his mother became a pivotal point in Alex’s life going forward. Some years later Alex was beaten which almost caused him to die and he lost the use of his legs. He has been confined to a wheelchair since this and he began to drink heavily. In September 2016 while visiting with Alex he prayed and repented of his sins. This was the first time I had seen Alex smile. He said he felt a heart change but could not put down the bottle. We would take him food parcels and he would trade the food for wine. We continued to pray for him and asked many others to join us in prayer for him. With the help of the local church and OM in early 2017, Alex was able to go to a 6-month rehab program. Through this program, he confirmed his salvation and his body was cleaned from alcohol. He returned to Bransesti changed and had a new outlook on life. Many people in the village said it would not last. They were wrong, Alex began making the journey to the church every day in his wheelchair then climbing the church steps on his fists, asking what he needed to do to be baptized and what he could do at the church. He was given the requirements to be baptized and he began working on them. IMG_6177In the spring of 2018, he asked for a single burner stove so he could prepare his own food on Saturday and Sunday, he receives a hot meal Monday thru Friday from the Elderly Center. Wanting to prepare his own food was a big step for Alex. In April 2018 I took him the single burner he requested and someone provided the gas bottle to cook with. Now he cooks every weekend and gives extra food to his needy neighbors. People still were praying. Alex completed the requirements for baptism was he was baptized on July 1st, 2018, he has become heavily involved in the church and is now the Sunday school teacher for the children at the church. IMG_6995 He helps anyone he can in Branesti. Alex’s story and salvation is a result of faith and prayer. People continued to pray, in late 2018 another prayer was answered, we had been working for the past two years to prepare all of Alex’s documents so he could get a passport. Once he has his passport he can receive a pension each month. He received his passport on December 7th and will begin receiving a pension soon. Our GOD is faithful and Alex is living proof of this. Please continue to pray with me for Alex

As I close this entry I cannot help but think about another example of the power of prayer. In October 2018, Branesti held its annual harvest market, at the close of the market the people of the village wanted to help someone in the village. The people asked the mayor and the pastor who could they help.  Alex’s name was raised and the people of the village gave enough money to Alex for a new window and door at his house. The Lord changed one man’s life and now the entire village is changing, never doubt the power of prayer.  

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Currently, Alex is living in Branesti and he is heavily involved in the local church. We are searching for a place he can go for rehab because the doctors say he can walk again but finding this place has been a struggle. I know the Lord will provide an answer to this prayer too. Most rehab centers here in Moldova do not offer the extra care Alex will need in the beginning so I ask you to pray the Lord opens the door to a center that will help. In the meantime pray for the village of Bransesti this summer, Alex will help with a day camp throughout the summer for the children of the village and church. Lastly, Alex is getting around somewhat better he has been provided with an electric wheelchair, this makes travels to and from the church each day better, this is an answered prayer.

The power of prayer does not flow from us; it is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. The power of prayer is not based on a certain direction we face or a certain position of our bodies. The power of prayer does not come from the use of artifacts or icons or candles or beads. The power of prayer comes from the Lord who hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer places us in contact with the Almighty God, and we should expect almighty results, whether or not He chooses to grant our petitions or deny our requests. Whatever the answer to our prayers, the God to whom we pray is the source of the power of prayer, and He can and will answer us, according to His perfect will and timing. So good or bad God is there right beside us and He listens to our prayers for this has been a reminder of our call to serve Him and His love for us.

I ask you to take a few minutes, click on the following link, and watch this video about prayer and its importance (The Power of Prayer). This video is several years old but listen to the words, I think all problems we encounter in life is mentioned in this video, God listens to all our prayers equally. For there is power in prayer and there are many more Alex stories out there that were the result of prayer. God wants to do amazing things for us but we must ask in prayer and then believe. If you have a God story anwered through prayer please feel free to write to me, I would love to hear your story for I will be encouraged. Thanks for your time and prayers especially for Alex, I pray now that you and your family will be blessed. Remember pray, believe and receive.

Reality and The Culture We Live In

I’ve been trying to put these words on paper for several weeks now, I type and delete. When we arrived back in Moldova I was super excited to make the journey up the street to the Cancer Hospital to see Maria. Why was I excited? Because I hadn’t seen her in 3 months, because I had some really cool cards to share with her that some children from America had made her, or maybe it was the fact that I had heard some really great news her tumor had shrunk. Whichever emotion it was quickly escaped my mind as we entered the hospital room where Maria sat in a chair waiting to receive a ratio active treatment. For a slight moment, she had a smile that quickly turned into a frown and her eyes filled with tears. Was she upset that we were there to visit, was she scared that she was about to endure this treatment again the answers to these questions I will never know. We stayed with her for a moment read a few of the cards to her, gave her a small gift that someone had sent her, and decided that we should leave so that she could regain her composure before her treatment. My heart broke I couldn’t hold back the tears I hugged her, told her I loved her and we walked out. 

As we walked into the hallway her mother (Christina) followed us. She begins to apologize for the way Maria reacted. We explained that there was no need to apologize, and we begin to ask all the routine questions. You know all the ones you would ask the doctor if your child was in the hospital. Christina confirmed that the doctor had originally told them the tumor was 4 centimeters and was now less than 1 centimeter. Kelly begins to tell her how great this news was, that many people in Moldova and America had been praying for Maria and their family and that God was doing a great work in Maria’s life. That’s when the culture that we have always heard about here in Moldova became a very real voice to us. Christina looked right at Kelly and I and told us that God had done nothing for Maria. MOCP

She had been to the Orthodox Church in Crasnaseni, taken Maria with her, given the priest money, taken communion with him, and he had prayed for Maria. She was very persistent that the Orthodox priest was the one who had shrunk Maria’s tumor. Kelly begins to explain to Christina that she doesn’t have to go to the priest that she can talk to God anytime she wants, and how this is a gift that God gives us freely. She listened to every word Kelly spoke, however, her facial expression never changed and she never showed one bit of emotion. Her mind was settled, she never wavered, never even blinked an eye. We ended the conversation and prayed for her and Maria. Christina thanked us for coming and told us we were welcomed back anytime. 

The 2-minute walk back to the car seemed like a 2 mile walk. My head was spinning as I thought of the words Christina had just spoken. How does it feel to live in such a world where you are so oppressed that you live as a slave to them. You wear blinders so dark that all you see are the many lies; you can’t see the truth. Then my heart begin to crumble, as I thought of Maria, an innocent 12 year old girl who’s mind must be so confused. She lives everyday in her village where this type of oppression is common. She came to a summer camp where she was told, how this God is a good good Father and will never leave her or forsake her. Yet it was during this time she discovered she had a massive tumor on the base of her brain, that has caused her so much pain and completely turned her world upside down. We come to visit her in the hospital or at home and tell her how much we love her, how much this same God loves her, yet she still suffers. Then her and her mother visit the Orthodox priest and the next week her tumor has shrunk. No wonder this child was upset to see us once more, however, we will continue to visit, check in, and pray for Maria. I know God is not finished with Maria’s story, I know He is continuing to write it. 

As we returned home I began to pray. I ask God to show me exactly what He was trying to teach me. His response was very clear. We have been serving Him here in Moldova for the past 5 years, however, there are many things in this culture that we don’t know about or that we dont understand. More specifically the Orthodox Religion, it’s beliefs, and what it teaches the people who follow it. Learning this will give me a greater understanding of how deep the oppression runs, new insights on how to share Jesus with them, and a deeper understanding of what their repentance means to them. Please continue to pray for Maria and her family that the blinders are removed and their hearts are broken so that they can see Jesus is the only true healer. Also, continue to pray for me as I seek to understand more information about the Orthodox Religion.

Your Last Breath

As you take your last breath on this Earth your eternity will have already been decided. That decision was your choice. You only have two choices, Heaven or hell, when deciding your eternity. Every one of us has to make this choice, the government will not help you, your parents and friends cannot help, nor can any amount of money make this decision for you. As believers, we are called to tell others about Jesus and share the Gospel with them. That goes for all of us, not just pastors, Sunday school teachers, missionaries and so on, we are all called to share the Good News.

I do not say all this to convict you but I write to remind you of the seriousness of sharing the Gospel and ask you to begin praying specifically for our summer evangelism outreaches better known as Love Moldova. The outreaches begin in June and run through the end of August with eight weeks of intense evangelism all across Moldova. The outreaches include village/children’s programs, river adventure, trekking, construction, boys & girls camps, and several others.

 

These outreaches are our main way to reach the least-reached in Moldova with the Gospel. We will have over 30 teams going to 60 plus villages and coming into contact with 5000 to 6000 Moldovans. That is a lot of people in a short time that will hear the Gospel. Some of these people will hear the Gospel for the first time and others will have heard it many times, either way people will repent and come to know the Lord. So as I was saying their eternity hangs in the balance and no one knows when their last breath will be. They have to make a choice and we as an OM team must open our hearts and spread the Gospel and His love in order to make a positive difference maybe ending this continuous downward circle of poverty, alcohol and darkness. We are to be a light for the lost just as Acts 13:47 says.

 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Acts 13:47 NIV

I ask you to begin praying specifically for our OM team, the mission teams coming to serve with us, and the people of Moldova. For our team pray for our hearts to be pure and full of God’s love so our minds are directed to say the right words when talking to the lost. Also pray for the logistics of the entire summer, giving everyone rest when needed and for the programs to be prepared in a timely matter.

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Please pray for the mission teams arriving from all part of the world.  Pray for their safety, their health and an understanding of Moldovan culture. Pray that they will be open to being flexible.  Pray that they arrive with their hearts open to hear from God. And most importantly pray for the people of Moldova. Pray their hearts are softened and they have a curiosity to want to hear the Gospel. A willingness to want to know about God like never before and pray that any blinders the Orthodox beliefs has will be broken.

The Lord is doing a mighty work in Moldova and this summer will be no different but I have to wonder what could be possible if we are all prayed up, our hearts are pure and clean and our eyes are focused on Him. God is good, all the time God is good. Please take a moment and look at this photo collage, look into the faces of these people for they are lost, dying and going to hell, they just want someone to tell them the Good News.

Will you promise to pray with me and our team every day from now until the end of August. If you commit to this I know you will be blessed for there is power in prayer like you have never seen or felt before. Please pray with me for the lost because they may only have one last breath. Also, if you have read this and you are unsure about where you will spend eternity send me a message we can talk more. Thanks for your time and prayers, be blessed.

Scars

We now have been back in Moldova for nearly a month and we have settled back into life in a foreign country. Over the last few weeks I have watched the people; especially the elderly people. So much that they have become heavy on my heart. Seems as if there are more elderly here than there were before. I know that is not the case but maybe I have become so comfortable with life like everyone else and I just did not see them or maybe returning to the states for the first time without a grandmother to greet you, because she had passed away. Or even maybe the Lord has laid the elderly on my heart at this time. I just know I feel a pull in my heart for them and their well-being. 

As the days continue to pass it seems they appear on every corner throughout the city and in the village. Then two Sundays ago we were at church in Panasesti when a brother came to me and said, “Kelly let me tell you about this elderly lady we have been ministering too”. He began to tell me her story, her name is Liuba, she is 82 years old and has lived a hard life. She even still works each day, she has responsibilities to complete for others and even makes sure the animals have food to eat.Luiba1 As I looked at the pictures of her I immediately thought that this lady represented the elderly of Moldova, she was the perfect example. She had aged before her time, her hands and face were weathered by the years of suffering, hard work, and poverty but her body also reflected the scars of her heart. There is a photo where she is going to collect wood for the day, and another where she is gathering food for the goats and sheep, just doing what she had to do to live. I do not think many would do what she does each day or would have over the last eighty years. She is covered, battered and beaten both emotionally and physically with the scars to prove it. She continues on each day in order to live, without much family and the ones she does have are drunks. She does not know she can have peace in her life, or that the scars can be healed; for she has never heard the Good News about the one who died for us with scars I have grown to love. 

 

Then I begin to think more, even if you took the everyday scars away from her she wouldLuiba2 still be filled with scars as she journeyed through life. Being 82 years old, she lived through some events that many us did not nor did we experience. She was born in 1937, the year Amelia Earhart crashed somewhere over the Pacific, the Hindenburg exploded and the Japanese invaded China. As she grew in age so did the scars, she saw the beginning of World War 2 unfold and even come to her home land in battle as the Jews were taken away by Hitler. She lived through the Holocaust and the end of World War 2 where the Soviet Union controlled Moldova for the years to come. She also lived through and saw her old home land gain its independence in 1991. She may have heard or seen about the first man on the moon and about the fall of the Berlin wall but she was still living each day in poverty and life was hard. She may have had food, a job and a house but spiritually the scars were deep and she did not know about God. 

 

God sent His Son to die for us so we could have everlasting life, in doing so Jesus was left with the permanent scars as a reminder of what He did for us. The scars we live with are just the same as the one’s Liuba lives with. Jesus dying on the cross for our sins covers all of our scars with His blood. These scars can be taken away and forgotten no matter what you did or experienced in life, Jesus is your savior and He has the scars to prove it. These scars I have grown to love, they remind me of the pain He suffered for us but without these scars we would never know who Jesus was nor know the love in His heart. 

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53: 5 NIV

Take a moment and listen to this song called Scars by I Am They (play Scars). Just really listen to the words, you will be impacted, The Gospel is the truth and I have never looked at it this way, who would have thought we should be thankful for the scars. Please do pray for Liuba and all the elderly across Moldova that they too will hear the Gospel and be thankful for the scars no matter what scars they live with each day. Pray they hear the truth. 

A Simple Hello…

It was a simple hello that first day we all meet Sofia and her family, we never knew it would be such a complicated good bye. Recently we moved from our old apartment into a new apartment. After much prayer the Lord provided us with this new apartment and the move was a success but at the same time saying goodbye is not all it is cracked up to be.

There are many things different about mission life that you will never experience until you answer the call to serve the Lord full time on the mission field. One of those differences is making and building relationships, we find this to be hard. You find yourself meeting new friends but not becoming so close to them because the Lord could redirect you or them at anytime. As time passes saying goodbye becomes harder than saying hello. Simple hellos become complicated goodbyes.

A few weeks before the move Mary came to me and said you know Dad moving from the this apartment and saying goodbye is hard for me. Sofia and I have become really close and leaving her will be a big change. I told her I understand and feel the same way about Misha who leaves upstairs. I also told her she will meet new friends at the new apartment, and that there were many more children along with a big playground. I guess I was not really convincing, she just simply said okay and walked away. Then a few days later she came to me again and said she wanted to talk more about Sofia, I said sure what’s on your mind. She said, Dad I am worried about Sofia, she speaks Russian and most of the other kids speak Romanian, leaving her with few friends. Do you think we can come and visit her from time to time. I said we sure can. Then she said I want to give her something that she will remember us by but, something that will be more important to her than us. I asked do you have any ideas of what to give her, she said yep, how about a Bible. If we can give her a Bible she will always be able to turn to it for advice and direction. She will also know that God will be with her no matter the language she speaks. As she finished talking I just simply said to myself Wow, that just came out of the mouth of an eight year-old. She gets it, she realizes we need the Lord each day and she knows the Bible is filled with much help too. That is powerful.

Just a few weeks later we moved and yes it was tough, on one of the last trips to the old apartment we knocked on Sofia’s door and Mary presented her with the Bible. There were some tears but also many hugs. After saying good bye we all waved and loaded in the car to drive away, then Mary says; “Dad saying goodbye was hard but I know now Sofia has a Bible and I pray she reads it realizing she is not alone.
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As believers we are called to serve and love like Christ. Mary acted exactly like that when thinking about Sofia and her future, I am very proud of Mary and her actions. Please pray for our family to be more Christ like as we go into 2019 our fifth year in Moldova. Pray our family is more intentional about ones we surround and share the Gospel with. Also, be in prayer for the Moldovans that the word will be provided for them and Bibles will be readily available to them. This gift of a Bible to Sofia is special for many Moldovans will never have a the chance to own a Bible due to the high cost and economic crisis in Moldova. Even thou saying hello is easy and goodbye is complicated we have to remember everything in between for this is the time our life reflects Christ and people are changed. Thanks for your time, I pray these words were uplifting and a blessing to you.

A Child of God

Yesterday I attended a funeral for the mother of a good friend here in Moldova. The ground was covered in snow, the temperature was -4 and the cemetery was all uphill but the people came to pay their respects. Mrs. Ludmila had been sick for several months and on Tuesday she went to be with the Lord. She was a believer; a child of God and she would tell you when you meet her.

Throughout the service many verses from the Bible were discussed, one verse was Revelation 21:4. This verse is actually one of my mother’s favorite verses along with one of mine too.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

After Tuesday Mrs. Ludmila had no more pain she did not suffered anymore. She was with the Lord, she is a child of God. Sister Ludmila’s faith was real and now in heaven she sees the hope that we have for she was a child of God. Just as Hebrews 11:1 says, we have faith and hope.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Standing at the graveside I begin to think, if we believed in the Gospel and we had this hope along with faith why are we quiet. As believers we are children of God and we should want to tell every person we cross paths with about Jesus, but we do not that. We believe right?

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As the service ended I was looking across the cemetery thinking about the coming new year, I want to be more intentional about telling others about the Lord and how He has changed my life. Then it hit me why do I have to wait until 2019 for we are not promised tomorrow. I pray the Lord strengthens me and gives me the courage to start now and to be more intentional about sharing my faith and the Gospel for I am a child of God. Just as the song says I am a child of God no longer a slave to fear. Thank you, Mrs. Ludmila, for being an example of a Godly woman.

When One Door Closes….

IMG_6924When one door closes another door opens, this is a saying I have heard all my life but I have thought more about the words recently. This is the week of Thanksgiving, we should step back and look at the past year praising God for all we have to be thankful for. This year I have thanked Him in a different way, I have given Him thanks for all answered prayers whether it was an opened door or a closed door. He has been faithful. Sometimes we struggle with this concept, did I open the door? Did God close the door? It goes on and on.

Seems like we have seen many open and closed doors in recent months but the Lord has been there through each one, this I am thankful for. Just as Deuteronomy 31:8 says The Lord goes before us and He will be with you and not fail you.

“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

This is a verse to always keep close to your heart for it is true no matter what you are faced with in life. Many times I refer back to this verse as a prayer, but I find it to be more of a reminder that He is our Father and He love us.

So now that its thanksgiving I thought I would share a few of those answered prayers or in this case opened and closed doors.

The first answered prayer has been both an opened and closed door. Christy and I had been in prayer for several months for a new apartment for many reasons, we were looking at a closing door never thinking a new door would open and what an impact it would have on our family. For two months now we have been in a new apartment, we are settled, and we see everything in a new light. Our old apartment was perfect for the season we were in, but that season ended and we had to move on. The apartment was on the first door surrounded by trees and the taller apartment blocks leaving no light to enter the windows each day. After many months this lack natural light had effected all of us and we did not recognize the problem. We truly loved our old apartment, we had developed many relationships unlike the previous apartment and we knew the Lord had us there for a reason, but we also knew our time was over and the door was closing. Praise the Lord for closing the door to the old apartment and opening a new door to an apartment filled with light in which we all soaked up very rapidly. Sometimes you must close doors, then pray and trust in Him for He will open a new door.

Another opened door or answered prayer has been the recent baptisms at Rock of Ages IMG_0263Church in Panasesti. Several weeks ago there were four new believers that were baptized at the church. Seeing their baptisms is a huge encourage to me,  but also to the entire church along with the village. Their baptisms have reignited the light of the church and that light is shining bright for all to see. It is amazing to see the church grow by four but also amazing to watch how the new believers are growing in their walk with the Lord. The process of baptism is not the same as it is in the States or what we may be accustom too. Neither is wrong only different cultures doing it different ways. Sometimes I feel baptism in Moldova is more valued than in a western church. These newly baptized believers are excited and looking for ways to invest more in the church both on Sundays and through the week. The timing of these baptisms has sparked a type of revival among the leaders to help the church grow and reach the lost community of Panasesti, there may be a church in the village but not all have heard the Gospel so we have more evangelizing to do. Please pray for these new believers as they search for their doors of opportunity to opened so that they can be examples of Jesus to the lost in Panasesti.

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Another open door has been Maria. When Christy meet Maria this summer she was a very sick little girl. Some days she would enjoy a few hours of the fun at camp, but most of her time was spent in the bed beside the nurse. She was experienceing extreme head aches, fevers, chills, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, and vomiting. As it turned out Maria was seen by a doctor in Chisinau and under went many test. She was later diagnosed with brain cancer. The doctors told her mom to prepare for a funeral. As the doctors begin to close the door in Maria’s life God begin to open it. God not only has seen fit for Maria to have more time here on earth He has opened a door for our family and many others all around the world to ministry to her and her family. While she is still undergoing visits to the doctor, may need some more chemotherapy, and can’t return to school just yet God is using this door to work in the lives of a family who turns to alcohol when faced with problems instead of Him. Continue to pray for Maria and her family as Maria has a long journey ahead to fully recover and her family needs Jesus as the center of their home.  Pray that God will allow this door to remain open so that our family can continue to minister to her and her family.

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Lastly we have been praying for good health for our entire family, this is an open door we do our best to keep walking through and God has been faithful in keeping our health good in Moldova. Here health care in Moldova is very different from that in the states, when we stay healthy the doors to the health care system stay closed. And this is one closed door that is an answered prayer!

mary doorIf the door is closing let it close and think of it as an answered prayer. If the door is open confirm with God walk though it for He has gone before you, trust in Him. Just remember when one door closes another one will open. I pray you and your family have the very best Thanksgiving and that you ponder on what you are thankful for, look around and give Him thanks for the answered prayers no matter if they were closed or open doors. Be blessed.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1  Thessalonians 5:18

Rock of Ages Church Outreach & Evangelism

Rock of Ages Church Construction

Girls Autumn Conference 2017

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