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Interviewing Author, Pastor, and Caregiver, Robert Morgan

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2022 3:30 am

Interviewing Author, Pastor, and Caregiver, Robert Morgan

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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July 24, 2022 3:30 am

Drawing upon nearly 50 years as a teaching pastor and 25+ years as a caregiver, Rob Morgan brings a wealth of understanding and experience to today's challenging issues.

Following the death of his wife, Rob candidly shares his thoughts and experiences while anchoring himself and others in the Scripture.  Teaching on the book of Revelation, Rob recently authored THE 50 FINAL EVENTS IN WORLD HISTORY.  In this new book, Rob shares how he draws encouragement from this book that confuses and even frightens so many. 




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Oh, yes he does. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver, and he does know the plans that he has for you, and you can rest on that.

You could hang your hat on that. That is my wife Gracie from her CD Resilient. if you want to learn more about her and her music and so forth. I'm joined by a longtime friend of mine and a friend of this broadcast, Robert J. Morgan, a prolific author, Bible teacher, speaker, and caregiver for many, many years to his wife Katrina through a very difficult journey. Just recently, the last couple years, Katrina went on to be with the Lord, and Robert is continuing on in his work, and I wanted just to have a chance to talk with him about what he's doing now, some things post-caregiving, his thoughts, and his new book, 50 Final Events in World History, in addition to many other books that you've probably heard of and read. The Jordan River Rules, The Red Sea Rules, and then, Rob, you have to just pardon me, my all-time favorite is Then Sings My Soul, because all three of those were so wonderful, and I'm a big hymn buff like you are. So thank you for your diligence in helping people understand God's provision in difficult things, difficult times, and also for your love of history and the Word of God and the music that has reflected that for generations and generations in our church.

So you bring such a wealth, and I'm grateful to have you here. Well, it's a joy for me to be with you, Peter, and these hymns, you know, you mentioned Then Sings My Soul. I just rely on two things every day, and that is the Scripture and the other is the music that God gives us. And my study recently, and my own personal study, has been in Act 16, and it came to me that when Paul and Silas were whipped and put in stocks and they were singing hymns at midnight, they didn't have any words projected on the wall of that prison, they didn't have any hymn books in their hands, but they knew enough music by heart to sing praises to God. And this idea of having lyrics written in our hearts and minds, songs that we've seen over decades, is so very important. And I may have told you if you'll, I don't know if I told you or not, but once, just before my wife passed away, when she was not very lucid, I was lifting her into bed, and she started quoting, my gracious master and my God assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the glory of thy name. Yeah, and it was from Wesley's 4,000 times to sing.

So we need to rely on these supports that God has given to us. I preached on that text this past Sunday, our pastor retired and I filled in a couple times, I'm playing the, I do the music at our church out here in Montana. And then I jump up and do the sermon every other Sunday while we're waiting on an interim pastor and so forth. And my text was that particular passage in Acts and the sermon title was, what did they know?

And that would allow them to sing hymns in prison at midnight with their feet in stocks, beaten. It's an extraordinary testament of faith and what that did, it permeated into the entire jail. And so you have blessed a lot of people with this and I love that Katrina is singing that right there on her deathbed. Well, it's amazing because I preached on the same text this past Sunday in California. So I guess the Lord puts the same text on our minds.

I know, I would say great minds think alike, but there's only one great mind on here, the other one's hosting the show. You know, Peter, as I went through that passage, I thought, what would they have sung? And I went through the, maybe you did this too, the 150 Psalms, which would have been their hymn book. And I thought, which one of these was most appropriate? And I can't remember now the number of it, but one of them says, we were in darkness, we prayed, the Lord sent an earthquake.

I mean, it was almost exactly what happened. And I wondered if that was the Psalm from the Psalms of David that they were singing, but we all need these internalized hymns. And they got Katrina and I, you know, when she couldn't sleep at night, she would just have the device play her favorite hymns. And some nights those hymns played all night long.

So that's, we can't lose the hymns. Then Sings My Soul is a set of three books that deal with that, but they help me every day. Well, I wanted to ask you before we get into some of the other things and I want to turn you loose and get out of your way. I've had a long standing theory and it is only a theory to me, Rob, because I haven't lived it.

You have, I haven't. That caregiving caregiving, the trauma and the challenges for caregivers doesn't end at the cemetery. That it takes a while to process what has happened to us through this journey. And it depends on the length of the caregiving journey, the intensity of it and so forth. But it's something that all too many caregivers think, okay, well, I'm just going to get mama to Jesus and then I'll be okay.

But they're not okay. It takes a while. That's my theory.

Would you, would you comment on that? It does take a while. And there are two or three important aspects to it. One is that as we go through the caregiving process with someone who is not going to recover on this earth, then there is anticipatory grief. We grieve in a sense, even if we're not aware of it, that we are losing this person.

And when the actual moment comes and they go to heaven, a lot of our grieving has been done and that may leave us confused. When my wife went to heaven, there was this sense of relief and release for her that I was glad. And then there was a sense of relief and relief for me that I felt guilty about. And I had to realize that I shouldn't feel guilty about it.

But the anticipatory grief can help soften the process. But there's got to be something else going on in your life parallel to that. Because if your whole life is devoted to caregiving, and you haven't developed any other hobbies or ministries or pursuits, then you are absolutely lost in what to do. And in my case, I had just been able to continue my ministry of writing and teaching, which I do mainly out of my home here. And I had a granddaughter who, when I went to speaking engagements, would stay with my wife. But I had something then to do afterwards, so I wasn't sitting at home trying to rebuild from scratch. So I think being a caregiver, just like you have a ministry that parallels your taking care of Gracie, having something in our lives that occupies us and diverts us and brings fulfillment to us, in addition to caregiving, is very important.

It may simply be a prayer ministry, or it could be a ministry in the local church, or it could be a group of friends that you do things with, or pick a ball that you play, or something like that. But you need to have something so that when that moment comes and the person is released to the Lord, then you have something to occupy your attention. And then I just found that I had to forgive myself for not being a better caregiver. I would think back of all of the moments when I didn't do as well as I should have. And I just had to say, Lord, forgive me if I could go through this again, I would do better at it.

And that was an aspect of it. So there's a lot of different adjustments that we have to make emotionally and processing, the time when God releases us from that responsibility. That is quite meaningful to hear, because this is something I have spent a lot of time talking with fellow caregivers about, of encouraging them to not wait to build their life, but to build their life now, even whatever limited capacity you can as a caregiver. And granted, you have responsibilities and you can't commit as much time and resources maybe as you'd like, but do something, like you said, do something. I have enjoyed your books, I've enjoyed your ministry, and you and I have developed a friendship over the years.

And your writing now, it just continues to take on this deeper and deeper texture. How much do you—this may not be a fair question, Rob, so correct me if I'm wrong on it—but how much do you attribute to some of the angst that you work through as a caregiver on how you approach Scripture and writing and so forth? Well, a great deal of it, and not just caregiving, but all of the troubles of life. I've got three children and 16 grandchildren, 16 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, and there is always something going on that is distressing.

There are no functional families, I've decided. When Katrina and I were married, I thought, we're going to have a functional family with no problems and no issues, and it just doesn't happen that way. And then there are other issues in life, whether it's our finances or our health or something negative that happens in our church life or some other close group that we're affiliated with, and all of these things drive us deeper into Scripture. And I've been dealing with a very difficult issue in the past couple of weeks. It has just driven me deeper into Scripture, and just yesterday I found a verse. I spoke in California for Philip de Courcy at Kindred Church, and he gave me a little book that he had written, and the first is called Emergency Rations, and it's for Emergency Times, and his first installment was the words of David, Here I am, let him do as it seems good to him. And I said, Lord, here I am, just do as it seems good to you.

I've never found that verse before, but it's helped me this week. We're talking with Robert Morgan,,, prolific author, Bible teacher, and caregiver, somebody who journeyed a long time in this lane that we're finding ourselves in as caregivers. We'll be right back.

You don't want to miss more of what he's got to say. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope the caregiver.

We'll be right back. As caregivers, we have so many things that hit us all the time, and we can't always nail these things down by ourselves. Who helps you?

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This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. For those of you who are willingly, knowingly, voluntarily putting yourself between a vulnerable loved one and even worse, disaster. How are you doing?

How are you holding up? This program is designed to help you stay strong and healthy as you care for someone who is not. We're talking with my longtime friend, Robert J. Morgan. He is an author, Bible teacher, speaker, and a grandfather of 16. That I did not know, Rob.

16. That's quite a number. Well, some of them are biological. Some are steps. Some are adopted, and some we don't know where they came from. I'll let you figure all that out. But we love them all. We love them all.

You do indeed. And he's also been a caregiver. He's cared for his wife Katrina for over 25 years through MS. And he has a wealth of information. You were talking about in the last segment, Rob, when you have these things in life that confront you because you have a very large family and you have challenges that go on. And not just with what you and Katrina went through, but the extended family and so forth.

There's always something. And as a pastor for many, many years, you were elbows deep into other people's heartache. And it would drive you to scripture.

I also have another working theory that I'd like for you to expand on this. When you're preaching, when you're writing, how much of this do you feel that you're preaching to yourself? You know, one of my favorite stories in scripture is David at Zikilak, when he encouraged himself for the Lord, when everything was against him at that point. Do you feel that way when you approach a sermon, approach a book, approach a pulpit? Does that resonate with you?

Absolutely. I've often said that all of my sermons I'm self-medicating and just allowing other people to listen in. What I do, and I was taught this, Peter, when I was 19 and 20 years of age, and Ruth Graham, Billy Graham's wife, who was instrumental in teaching me, but I have a journal and every morning I get up, I'll put the date, and I'll put what's going on in my life, just maybe a paragraph.

I don't write a whole lot usually. And then where I'm picking up in my Bible study, and I have a wide margin Bible study. Now, Ruth had a wide margin Bible study, but she also would go out and buy cigarette paper. And she didn't use it to roll cigarettes, but she found that she could tap it with her finger to her mouth and get a little moisture there, and it would adhere to her wide margins and give her more space to write. Aren't you, by the way, aren't you trying to picture her buying cigarette paper? Oh, hi, Miss Graham. You need some more cigarette paper.

Is this for you or Billy? Well, at any rate, I do this Bible study, and then I will, you know, whatever speaks to me that day, I'll jot down in my journal, and if I am particularly troubled, as I have been the last couple of weeks, I may just spend an hour or two or three going through Scripture, finding those promises, writing them out, writing out my prayers, and at any rate, whether it's my regular pattern or whether I'm in distress and doing a little bit more of it to try to have therapy through journaling and Bible study, all of it ends up in my sermons. And I often say that at my, and I think this is true for a lot of us, that our sermons and our books are overflow.

Ministry must always be overflow, and that's why I've been a pastor for 45 years and have never burned out, because ministry is overflow. And so we take the Scriptures, they speak to us at critical moments in life, we study expositionally through books, right now I'm going through Philippians, and that's why I was in Acts 16, because it's the background for Philippians, and I'm preaching a series of sermons on my podcast called Whatever Happens, because Paul said, whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. But it's all coming out of my own Bible study, my own very personal time with the Lord. And if you don't do that, I just don't, your ministry likes a certain authenticity.

I agree. And for me, go back to what we said in the last block, sitting down at the piano and playing these hymns has also been such a huge part of my own journey, because I found that these hymn writers were saying things that I was feeling, but I just didn't have the words for it. And it would anchor me back in Scripture, and I never ceased to be amazed at the treasure trove that we're ignoring in our church. And I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, very much involved in the North American Mission Board for the Southern Baptist Convention, and I said, I'm going to ask you a question.

I think I know the answer, but I want to ask you to see what you think. What is one of the biggest issues you're facing across the denomination that you're seeing? And he said biblical illiteracy. And that's a sad commentary, isn't it?

It is. That we have access to vast resources, but we're biblically illiterate. And we don't realize what's in there that is transformative for us.

Our churches all need to be miniature seminaries in which we are teaching everyone from the children of biblical truth. But going back to what you were saying about a hymn, my definition for a hymn is it is a miniature Bible study set to music and intended to be sung. And, you know, there's a lot of great new music. And Gracie does some, you know, we all need new, fresh music.

But every generation is always saying new music while retaining the best of the old. And I don't know what's so hard about the church today, but this whole aspect of what I call blended or interwoven worship is needed. But we need it in our own life, too. So I have a Spotify list of my favorite hymns. And when I get up in the morning, a lot of times while I'm in the shower and getting ready for the day, I'll put on those hymns and it prepares me then to sit down after I'm dressed at my desk and have my devotions. And that gives me the strength for the rest of the day. And if my spiritual stamina falters in the face of a discouragement, then I just go right back to the Bible and back to my journaling. And I've done this for years.

And if there's any thing worth reading in what I've written, it usually has come out of those experiences. I am pushing this wonderful little congregation. They've graciously allowed me to be their music minister. And I am pushing them to learn these older hymns that nobody's really played them before. And I think part of it is, Rob, is that people equate them with being old-fashioned and they're played old-fashionedly, if that's a word. And I try to play them with a little bit more passion, a little bit more updated chords and things such as that.

And then I'll slow certain parts of it down to emphasize that text. And I am stunned. What happens to people when they hear these, it's almost like they're hearing them for the first time. And this is a huge part of my life. And I played them a lot on the program here.

I have a keyboard hooked up and I'll play name that tune kind of thing. And I'll just pick out a text that we're talking about from Scripture, just so all these hymns that reflect that. And I agree with that.

We got a little bit more time here and I want to transition. You've got a new book out. You've written, I don't know, 40 books now and they're just all amazing. And the newest one is called The Final 50 Events in World History. The Final 50 Events in World History. Talk about that and what prompted this, other than just seeing the news every day.

But what prompted this? Well, it's my study of the Book of Revelation, the 50 Final Events in World History. The Book of Revelation, Peter, is full of information for our generation. The very first verse says, this is the revelation which God gave to his son Jesus to give to his servants to show them what must soon take place. And we were talking about biblical illiteracy.

And many, not just average Christians and average churches, but many average pastors are afraid to go near the Book of Revelation. And it really is a very simple book. It just lays out chronologically, beginning with chapter four, what's going to happen during the final seven years leading up to the return of Christ.

And I think that I've explained it in the 50 Final Events in World History simply enough for a middle schooler to understand the Book of Revelation. And it's not a frightening book. It is the most hopeful book in the Bible.

It's the book towards which all of the other 65 books come. I mean, everything in the Bible is preparing for this capstone book of Revelation. And it's full of judgment against evil. We say, why does all of this evil take place?

Well, it's not going to take place forever. It's going to be judged and dealt with. It's full of angels. It's full of hymns. It's full of hope. It is full of the majesty of Christ, the way he is presented in Revelation completes the biblical portrait of him. And it's full of information that we need to know as we watch the news and process the headlines. It's full of information about heaven and about our reunion. It gives me incredible visualizations of where Katrina is right now that comforts me so much. So I wrote the 50 Final Events in World History because I just want people to not be afraid, but rather to really understand and exalt in this wonderful concluding book of the Bible.

I was actually thinking about this yesterday when you were telling me about this book. And then I heard on the news, you know, Putin is leaving Russia to go and meet with Iran and Turkey. That is not insignificant biblically. And I think I'm watching the news and you can start seeing these.

And I want to talk about this when we come back. We're going to take a quick break because I want to hear your thoughts on this because when you start seeing these things on the news, our minds should immediately go to what does scripture have to say about this? What does scripture have to say about this? And again, pushing that biblical literacy. And so I want you to unpack that a little bit in today's events, if you don't mind.

We've got one more segment to go. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is Hope for the Caregiver. We're talking with Robert Morgan, I'd like for you to get the copy of this new book. I think you will find it not only meaningful to you from a teaching standpoint, but you also understand he's one of you, one of me, one of us as caregivers. He knows his journey.

So it's going to color everything you write. We'll be right back. I'm Peter Rosenberger and many years ago when my wife Gracie became a double amputee, she saw the importance of quality prosthetics. She saw the importance of a support team and people that could help her regain her life after losing both legs. And she had this vision of creating an organization that would help others do the very same thing while pointing them to Christ.

And for more than 17 years, we've been doing just that. We purchase supplies, we send equipment and we train and we send teams over to West Africa. We've been working with the country of Ghana, several clinics over there now. And each week more people walk because of Gracie's vision. In 2011, we launched a new program outreach to family caregivers. Drawing on my now 36 plus years as Gracie's caregiver through a medical nightmare, I offer insights. I've learned all of it the hard way to fellow caregivers to help them stay strong and healthy while taking care of someone who is not. If you want to be a part of this, go out to slash giving, slash giving to help us do more. It's standing with hope.

We're reaching the wounded and those who care for them. slash giving. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosaburger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. That is Gracie with Russ Taff singing a passage of scripture that I think you know very well, Rob, and lean on quite extensively that the joy of the Lord is our strength. And Twyla Parris wrote that song, and I always liked the song, and I thought, you know, I'd like to hear Gracie take a whack at this and do it as a duet with Russ Taff. And so we worked that out, and it was the last thing we recorded there in Nashville before we moved out to Montana. And I just just loved that text, and I felt like it needed to have that exuberance that she and Russ brought to it.

It was a lot of fun to do it. We were talking about Rob's new book, and it is really ripped from the headlines on a lot of things, the 50 final events in world history. I just mentioned before we go to the break about, I was seeing the news just yesterday where Putin, after Biden comes back over to Saudi Arabia, and I'm not quite sure what all was accomplished there, but Putin is going to meet with Iranian, is it Khamenei in Iran and Erdogan in Turkey. And those things are not biblically meaningless. Those things have great texture of what's going on in our world today, spiritually and geopolitically. And so I'd like for you to just talk a little bit about that as you see these things unfolding rapidly in front of us, Robert, in this moment.

Yes, Peter. Well, and my book, the 50 final events in world history, I have several articles in the appendix. And one of them is from Ezekiel 38 and 39, the battle of Gog and Magog. And this is the battle of Armageddon. And it talks about the alliance from the north of Israel. And if you draw a line straight up from Israel, you know, you have Turkey, you have Ukraine, you have Russia. And then, of course, the countries that make up ancient, Babylon and Persia, who destroyed Israel in the past, that's today Iraq and Iran. You have North Africa, which is becoming an entire area of failed Muslim states.

And then you have Europe dependent upon Russian oil. You have all of these things that really do sound very much like the scenario that we read about leading up to the battle of Armageddon. And so I deal with some of that, especially in the appendix. But the overall outline of Revelation is just so simple. Chapter one is an introductory chapter. Chapters two and three were messages given, short messages by Christ to the seven churches who were the original recipients of this material.

So they would be strong enough to receive it and to pass it on to others. And then chapters four through 18 describe what we call the tribulation. And in chapter 19, Jesus comes again. In chapter 20, he sets up his kingdom.

And chapters 21 and 22 are the best travel guide to the new heavens, the new earth and the city of New Jerusalem that you'll ever find. And it's very meaningful to me. With my wife, Katrina, as she was literally as she was dying, I leaned over and whispered in her ear. She was already, you know, her eyes were closed, but she was still breathing. And I knew she could hear me.

And I said, you go on to sleep. And in the morning, you and I will take a walk together along the Crystal River. And I made a date with her based on the reality of Revelation chapter 22, verses one through four. And that gives us a picture of the very center of New Jerusalem where the throne is. And from beneath the throne is the great river that irrigates all of the city of New Jerusalem.

With its tributaries, there's the streets, there's the Tree of Life Park. I mean, it's all described in wonderful detail. And I think it is given to us that way to allow us to envision in our hearts as much as we humanly can, what eternity is really like. So this book, I think, it's so important for us in this day and age to understand the structure, the sequence of events, and especially the final concluding description of heaven.

And it's only found in the book of Revelation. I want to take just a moment to speak directly to the audience here, if you'll indulge me. If you'll indulge me, Rob, I've read quite a few of Rob's books, and he writes from the heart of a pastor, and he writes in a way that we don't have to be seminarians to figure this out. He wants to sit down and explain and show it very patiently in a way that makes great sense, just at our pace.

We don't have to understand, you know, all these different hermeneutical type tools and everything else. He's put the labor into this so that he can do this, and he does it with the heart of a pastor. And I would highly encourage you to get a copy of this book and others of his, that you're going to see that common language of somebody who has walked through painful things, very, very hard things. And yet he has discovered the provisions and faithfulness of God extend far beyond even those things. And he has faced death. He's faced a long sickness and other issues that he's done, and he's lived to preach about it. Isn't that extraordinary? So thank you.

I wanted to just make sure people were tracking with this Rob. So thank you for that moment, just to let me indulge me on that, because you have been very, very instrumental in my life personally, and been such an encouragement. And I grieve with you over the loss that you've had. I share the journey that you've had, but at the same time, I look at you with great gratitude and amazement that you've walked through these things and you have processed this in such a profound way.

And your teaching and your writing just continues to become deeper and deeper and deeper. What are the last, this audience is filled with people who suffer and take, they watch suffering and they suffer themselves. What are your last thoughts in the last minute or two we have here just to share with them, to encourage them? Well, it says, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. And the cultivation of the sense of God's presence. I have a book called Always Near on recognizing and cultivating the presence of God in your life is so critical, because we don't have to handle this alone. Now we need other people and we need support from human beings, but we especially need the support of our Heavenly Father, the support of Jesus who said, I will never leave you or forsake you. And there have been times when I've just wanted to go on to heaven, but the Lord has always revived my heart through his word and never allowed the hope to get so low that it can't be rekindled again. So the cultivation of the presence of God, especially through prayer, his word, and as you've said, the great hymns of the faith is, we need to take time for ourselves every day to work on those things.

And then out of the strength of that, we can do what God calls us to do. Well, Sid, I, what is a hymn? I always do hymns on this program and weave them in and so forth.

What is one that just pops in your mind today as we close this out? Well, this is interesting, Peter, because most people will not know this song and I barely remembered it, but when Katrina, when I saw that she was going down very quickly one night, I got her in bed, I was troubled, I went out by the patio, and I was just sitting there in the darkness thinking, and an old song came to me that I'd heard as a child and I looked it up, because we can do that now in our phones, and it says, I trust in God wherever I may be, upon the land or on the rolling sea, for come what may from day to day, my heavenly father, white child, from day to day, my heavenly father watches over me. And I don't even know if you know that song, but, and I don't know a whole lot about the background, but it was so comforting, it stayed with me. I mean, I looked it up, I found several versions of it, you know, Rich Boys sang it and others sing it, and I listened to it again last night, and sometimes I just sing it. I trust in God wherever I may be, upon the land or on the rolling sea, for come what may from day to day, my heavenly father watches over me.

So that may be one you would like to look up and listen to. It was, it's been a comfort to me during some difficult times. I will leave you with this picture, Rob. Gracie was in surgery in Denver earlier this year for a very, very big surgery, and she was intubated, and she hates being intubated, and she was terribly afraid of it, and she asked me beforehand, you know, to please be with her if that happened, and she was intubated for four days. She was unconscious following the surgery, and then they woke her up, but she had to stay intubated for several hours before they could take it out to make sure she's stable. And I called Johnny Erikson Todd, and Gracie was really distressed. You could just tell she was just wild out in panic, and I called her up, and Johnny FaceTimed with me, and I held the phone over Gracie's face so Gracie could look up and look in Johnny's eyes, and Johnny looked at Gracie. She said, Gracie, look at me in the eyes.

I'm going to sing, and you harmonize with me. And Johnny's saying, God will take care of you, and Gracie harmonized in her mind with her as Johnny did that. Is that, that's a picture, that's a picture, isn't it? It sure is. It sure is. That song has helped me. That song has helped me so many times.

It sure has. Robert J. Morgan, Rob, I want you to know how much I appreciate you spending time with me today. Thank you so much for being a part of this. This is Peter Rosenberger, Hope for the Caregiver. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 04:02:41 / 2023-03-20 04:17:20 / 15

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