Second New Zealand post

 

1-26-13, 12:26 am NZ time


I keep trying to post on our blog! I started this one ten days ago, and then never found the time to add photos. So here I am, needing to go to bed, and I am trying to get this post to work. I had it all written and captioned and accidentally didn’t save it when I navigated away. I hope this has been worth the wait!

~~Jamie

1-15-13, 3:56 pm NZ time

This is actually funny. So far, I have not written about New Zealand!

Here is an email that I tried to send from our “hotel” room when we were in Sydney, Australia. (I say “hotel” because we stayed in a 3-bedroom service apartment, much better than a hotel. It had a kitchen and six-person meal table, utility room with washer and dryer, and two complete bathrooms.) I could not send with Outlook, even though I could receive. It was quite disappointing, because I paid for 24 hours of internet, but I barely used it, due to inability to send by hitting reply. I gradually got smarter, going to webmail and then to my Opera account. What I wanted from Outlook was my address book! Who takes the time to type all that into webmail? Not me! I can open Outlook and find addresses, but I wasn’t about to spend my day and half in Sydney typing addresses into Opera or webmail. I could have done it on the long flight over, had I realized I would want it. Oh well, we live and learn. Anybody traveling may want to consider doing that if they plan to send out large group emails!

This “email” I am about to post was supposed to be forwarded to the whole church (Old Paths Bible Baptist Church), but the copy in my inbox doesn’t seem to have the words. So here it is, as I sent it.

Hello everyone,

Well, it’s kind of funny. I asked a few people who had come this way before if I should try to get Australian money through AAA before coming. I was told that the exchange rate here would be better, so I assumed I would get cash (after talking with our NZ friends) at the airport with my credit card. I misunderstood just about all the advice I received. I don’t usually pay for things in life with cash. I like to have a record of my spending, so I used mostly credit card, some debit, and some online banking, with a few checks written a month. I actually had a $100 bill in my purse that I took out and left behind, because I don’t like carrying around big bills. Trevor had paid it to me for his insurance.

So. We landed and stopped at some benches to compare our landing cards and make sure they were filled out the same. They were close enough. 🙂 Then we lugged our way to customs. I told the man I had unopened packages of nuts in several suitcases. Not a problem. I told the man we have shoes from a farm and they might have a little soil still on them but that we had wiped all the shoes with disinfectant. Not a problem. I asked if the Pepperidge Farms goldfish in a package were OK. Not a problem. We just walked right along and got to the counters. The man said, “Grab a line.” So we got into two lines and just sailed right through. Everyone was friendly and cheerful. We took our many, highly-loaded carts to the quarantine area and we laid our bags on the floor in a line. A cute little dog (maybe a beagle) sniffed all along the line. He stopped at the same one on the way up and on the way back, but the handler didn’t seem to be bothered by it. Then he sniffed another one near the beginning and the handler asked if we have a dog at home. We answered that we didn’t. I asked if the dog barks if he finds something. The other man said he just looks up at the handler as if to say, “I found it. Now can I have my treat?”

We went on to the exiting area and I herded us over to the money exchange business in the corner. He said they only exchange cash; they don’t give cash for credit cards. I was directed to a bank machine across the way. I told the kids to encircle the carts of luggage while I used the cash machine. I put in my Visa card and it asked me for a PIN. Pin! I don’t have one of those for my credit card! So I called the number on the back of the card. No connection. Did my new international phone not work as I expected it to? I tried again and got through. I explained to the lady in Missouri that I was in Sydney, Australia, and that I needed a PIN to get money to pay for a cab to take us out of the airport. She connected me to some automated PIN department which proceeded to tell me I would receive my PIN in 7-10 days! What!!! It said if I needed cash before that to go to a bank. Great. I had 14 suitcases and about 10 carryons and we could not take the luggage carts away from the airport to find a bank somewhere to get some cash! Now what?

I decided to call my junior pastor who has traveled more than anyone in the church probably and who had helped us arrange most of the portions of our trip. I had to leave a message. It was actually one hour before the evening church service was supposed to start for Wednesday night back home. It was 10 am here in Sydney. So I called our friends in New Zealand to see if they had any brilliant ideas. Not really. I called Pastor Folk while Reese and Dylan went to ask a taxi driver if he took credit cards. I could hear Pastor, though his words were fuzzy, but he kept saying, “Can you hear me?” I didn’t go outside because I didn’t want to leave the children and I didn’t want to move the whole pile outside. I had to hang up. 🙁

The boys came back and said there was a long line and they didn’t want to stand in line just to ask a question. It was about that time (I was talking with the NZ friend at that point) that Trevor spoke up and said he had some cash. I had $79. He had $172. The girls each had $25 from their grandmother to buy food on the plane, but it wasn’t needed after all. Dylan had some and Reese had some. So we thought we knew it would take $80 to take a Maxi Taxi (a minivan) because that is what it cost for the group of six when Reese had come with a group from church in 2011. I was sure it would take two taxis for all those suitcases. I wanted to get $200 Australian, so I borrowed from all the children until we had $200. Reese wrote down the loans in a little notebook he was carrying. I went to the window and asked him how much US I needed to get $200 AU. He told me $250. There was a $12 commission and $10 fee. So I motioned to the children until someone saw me and came. I borrowed more until I had $250. He told me if I exchanged for at least $400 AU I would pay no commission. I told him I didn’t think we had that much. I dragged out the $8 I had kept in the wallet and we got up to $408. I needed $450 USD to get the no commission. I asked how much it would cost when I went back through and exchanged again. If I got the higher amount, I would get a receipt to show and I would pay no commission and get a better rate than that posted on the wall. I called Karen over and asked her to look for her other $5 bill. The man spoke up and said, “How much do you have now?” I said, “$408.” He punched some keys and made the commission $6 and gave me the receipt to pay no commission going back through. I forgot to say that he was encouraging me to exchange more at the beginning because I would pay $12 commission no matter how much I exchanged, unless I went over $450. I knew I would need $50 AU for each of us when we got to PNG to buy visitor visas in a few weeks, so since I had plenty of time this morning and maybe no time going through from NZ in a few weeks, I thought it would be better to get plenty of cash now and just have that over with. So I thought I needed $160 for two taxis. I wanted so badly to get out of the noisy airport and into our room so I could call my credit card company and explain that I needed a PIN now.

With cash in wallet, we went to find the taxi area. The man told us to go to No. 14. That was a small station wagon, so I went to him and told him we needed the maxi taxi. He motioned me to one that had just pulled up. I told the man I thought I needed two and he was sure it would all fit in his van. He let down his hydraulic “ramp” and they loaded it. We got into the middle section, which had a row of three seats facing the back of the van and three facing forward. Trevor sat up front. For just a second I wondered why he got into the driver’s seat. Silly me! They drive on the other side of the road. 🙂 I told him the address and the name of Meriton Apartments. As we drove along, with our video camera going, he asked the address again. It didn’t seem to satisfy him. He was from Africa, a nice man. I kept saying “DeVries”. Finally I dug a briefcase out of the stack and found my folder of reservations. It was Defries. So I said, “deFRIES, like French Fries.” It turns out that they pronounce it “DEFFreez.” (That rhymes with “Jefffrey’s.”) Oh well, we got here. Then the bill was only $51. And when he swiped the credit card, it wanted a PIN! I said I didn’t have one and it declined. So I was glad I had cash! I gave him the 50 and the 20 and he gave me the 20 back. I said, “Wait, I have a ‘one’ here in my pocket.” He said, “That’s OK, I have another fare.” A woman had come up and asked him to take her and her party to the airport. He was happy to have more customers. 🙂 Normally he would probably drive back to the airport empty. [editor’s note: a ‘one’ is a one-dollar coin.] For anyone wondering, it took only about 8 minutes to get here and he didn’t drive particularly crazy.

I was hoping we could check in early, but there were no empty rooms. They had told me at the time of booking that we could if there was a clean one when we arrived. But it’s summer and vacationers are everywhere. We were blessed to get a room this late in the booking. They had us put our luggage on two huge, fancy trolleys which they locked into a room. We sat in the side part of the lobby and I combed the girls’ crazy, messy hair. I got directions to a grocery store and we started out for a 20-minute walk. Since our “serviced apartments” have a kitchen, we can save money because we don’t have to eat at restaurants. We walked through a couple of cute little parks. There are many eucalyptus trees planted along the streets and they smell good. We had fun looking at all the food and choosing what we wanted. Should we buy sliced cheese, or buy a sharp knife and pay half the price for the same amount of cheese? Reese and Dylan went to see how cheaply we could get a knife. Trevor and the girls went with me to the produce section. Everything was stacked neatly and the produce manager was apologizing for the messy look due to the holidays! I tried to tell him it all looked great. Several employees in the store were very friendly. We gave several tracts in the store and on the walk to and from it. Lord, please open their hearts to the Saviour and His love and His plan for mankind. We got chicken thighs, avocados, tomatoes, apples, Australian cheddar cheese, an onion, half a head of garlic, bread, butter, eggs, milk, ice cream, and frozen green vegetables (green peas, green beans, and a smattering of broccoli). The cheap veg here is green peas. We had planned to stop in one of the parks and make cheese sandwiches (hence the need for a knife), but we realized it was quite warm and the chicken and ice cream and milk wouldn’t survive. Besides, we were tired and the room was ready. We had killed 2 1/4 hours. It was in interesting walk, with lots of cranes and cars to look at.

We got into our room and had our ice cream on the balcony. We then made the sandwiches and ate. Everyone lay down to take a short nap and slept four hours! I had a hard time getting them up. I don’t have time to write all the funny things about our room, like a shower with just a partial clear wall and a drain in the floor. The kids raised their eyebrows about that. They have a lot of experiences to build up.

We cooked our chicken in butter with garlic and onion. I didn’t have salt for the meal. There are a few packets, but the boys are saving those for eggs.

I was going to attach pictures, but I have to pay for internet $5 for one hour or $18 for 24 hours, so I wanted to wait until tomorrow morning to send this. We don’t want to waste the one day we have to look around Sydney.

We have other stories of the actual flights, especially Reese talking about the Bible so loudly and clearly that those of us a row ahead and beside him could hear him. He was talking to a saved girl, but the Mormon next to him heard it all. And the Catholic missionaries on his row did. I talked to a Muslim after giving his daughter a tract. I’m so naiive, I didn’t know what they were. They had distinctive clothing on, but I don’t know enough to guess religions of people. I had to ask. Well, I won’t elaborate more right now. He was very congenial.

Goodnight. 12-27-12 11:57 pm Australia. (8 am New York)

Jamie

////

That’s then end of the email I sent Dec. 29. Now for a few pictures to go with it. (I DID fix a few grammar errors. 🙂 )

~the restaurant called “lemonade” that we had supper at in LAX~

2012_12_25 Lemonade restaurant LAX 0042012_12_25 Lemonade restaurant LAX 007~loading our 14 suitcases and as many carryons into the maxi taxi~
2012_12_26 load the maxi-taxi 001~arriving at our serviced apartments: Meriton, in Zetland~The girls were looking up at the top floor, because that is where they told us would have a room. Ours was one of the five-story blocks.~
2012_12_26 Meriton Apts 0022012_12_27 views outside Meriton Apartments 0112012_12_27 views outside Meriton Apartments 012
While we waited for our room to be ready, we shopped at Coles. There are interesting things for sale in the meat case!  2012_12_26 in Coles 0112012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 0042012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 005  (It might help to know that in the UK, sausages are called “bangers.”)

2012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 0062012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 007In UK societies, they don’t refrigerate eggs.
2012_12_26 in Coles 014~Reese using his new camera to capture memories~
2012_12_26 in Coles 0262012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 008Annabelle, Naomi, and Karen enjoyed hearing and seeing multiple fountains. For fun, the girls and I walked across the footpath between the bubbling fountains.
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 002It was a long walk back to our apartment on a warm day, toting our groceries.
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 009Gas (petrol) is priced by the liter (litre). Don’t you think Hungry Jack’s got their design idea from somewhere in the USA?
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 017~getting our two trolleys of luggage to our room in the building next door~
2012_12_26 get luggage to room 0062012_12_26 get luggage to room 015Ice cream tastes even better after a long walk on a hot day and it’s even MORE special to eat on a balcony! 🙂
2012_12_26 refreshing ice cream 006 The view from our balcony was not beautiful, but was new and clean. Very modern; just the opposite of quaint. The kids loved it.2012_12_27 views from Meriton Apartment balcony 005 Plenty of dishes and utensils were provided to cook a nice meal.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 006 It was so pleasant to have a table big enough for the whole family and enough dishes to serve them all.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 008 We never served chicken and vegetables quite like this before. It was delicious.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 010

 

 

 

Reese’s Attempts at Photography

These photographs (all except the faucet one) were taken between 7:00 and 7:45 this morning. Very picturesque.

Sunrays

The sun shining through the leaves–I couldn’t see it with my eyes because it was too bright, but the camera caught it.

Clothesline

The fog lifting

“Teddy Bear” didn’t mind me taking his silhouette. The Scripture magnets on the van read: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Heb. 2:3” and “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36”

My steer “Paul” calling for food

Just too beautiful–praise the Lord!

 

Mist

As I filled the sink to wash dishes, I saw all the mist flying. It was very difficult to get the camera to catch it.

An interesting perspective of your photographer this morning–I’m about 30 feet tall!

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31

Reese

 

Herding cats

My husband often says, “It’s like herding cats” when I tell him the difficulties of getting all the children (there are 8 of them in our family) to do what they should be doing at the same time. There is a video on YouTube of herding cats that amuses us. I’d like to share the address with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

[Looks like I started to post this Aug. 17, 2010. Hope you get a smile from it like we did.-Jamie]

 

Lately in the Parfitt home

I hope to keep this concise, as I have many other things to do.

This past year has included (in random order): replacing our older Subaru wagon with a newer model, having son number three move to a nearby town to work construction jobs, losing that son’s four goats but then gaining two for ourselves, building a new chicken pen for my two banties, getting a new tractor with mower and tiller attachments, breaking and fixing the old JD skidloader several times (it’s currently down), getting the mini-excavator repaired, keeping up our journals, blueberry picking, starting the new school year, making plans to visit New Zealand next year, getting a real wooden pantry built, chasing the boys’ loose steers, taking the neighbor to court about their dogs continually coming into our yard and terrifying the girls, praying my mom through a road trip to California and back, buying a 15-passenger van in Pennsylvania and taking it to the other side of PA to Quigley to have it converted to 4WD and then picking it up one month later, taking a boat ride on the Erie Canal, camping with friends for two nights on an island in Lake George (turns out we don’t want to repeat that, but we would like to tent camp somewhere when the animals are all butchered), picking volunteer squash, NOT putting in a garden this year, enjoying the gladiolas that Ken planted in 2010, losing Trevor’s cat, getting a new cat to keep Annabelle’s cat company, receiving three kittens from the new cat, cleaning out our shed, getting rid of scrap metal, taking Bible Institute courses, having some carpentry work done, attending missions’ conference, Bible conference, and God Weekend, street singing and preaching, getting new wardrobes for the girls of more conservative and feminine dresses, stopping at our old house and being invited to look in every room of the house (they changed a wall we wanted to change and it was great to see that Ken’s idea DID work!), getting walking pneumonia (some of us) and hives (Karen), helping at the air show for three days again, helping the church hand out literature at the county fair for a couple of hours and then looking at the animals for the first time in some of the kids’ lives, taking a hunter safety course, deer hunting, taking a bow safety course, singing in nursing homes, having musical instrument lessons, scraping a car in a parking garage, ice skating, going to dinner at Japanese, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants, getting a delivery of a huge load of logs to split, splitting the last of the 2010 log delivery, getting our granite countertops chosen and installed finally, installing cabinets for a family that is expecting a baby any day, helping people move, attending calling hours and memorial services, videoing a wedding, and breaking my little toe.

That’s a long sentence, but I think I will leave it as is. No emotions expressed here, really, but you can fill in how you would feel doing all that and trying to also do school. All those experiences ARE school, but somewhere in there we have to memorize our times tables and learn what the subject and predicate are! 🙂 The glue that holds our lives together is attending church. We may have almost all the rest of our lives on a different schedule now, but we still go to church and see the same people week after week. Wise, godly men help the boys with “Dad” type discussions and kind, godly women and girls take us into their hearts to comfort us and encourage us.  It helps so much that they know the one we miss. We know we can’t be babied forever. We need to baby others now. I have found Bible time to be more interesting than ever as I actually ask questions and the Lord answers them quickly. I am forming a close relationship to Jesus! My Father in heaven is patiently showing me things I need to change not only my actions about, but my thoughts or philosophies about.

Reese and I are scheduled to take an electronics course together at the local community college. I just couldn’t find a homeschool electronics course, and I would not be able to explain any problem areas anyway. He may also begin piano lessons from one of our pastors’ sons. The boys will continue to take a Bible Institute class and we hope to go to New Zealand in February and March, with a short jaunt into Papua New Guinea. Dylan hopes to make it to the Philippines once this coming year. We wait to see what God has planned for us and we are ready to change our plans at a moment’s notice if the Lord tells us to.

Perhaps some day I will post pictures. For now, I’d better get some sleep and try to get back on the right schedule.

Thanks for reading!–Jamie

Fatherless – Yet not Alone

A year. A whole year! My siblings and I have been fatherless a year. My dear mother has been a widow for a year.

I can’t even explain to myself how I feel. My heart seems to go into fibrillation when I think about the incident or see pictures. I feel kind of nervous, and an incredible depth of sadness. And the strangest feeling is the one of disbelief. I still can’t fathom the fact that my father is dead. I can’t believe that my mom is a widow. How did this happen? When did this happen? Whose story am I reading? It can’t be mine.

I am trying to keep everything under control. I have a job to do, and I want to do it properly. Here I sit at my test bench, surrounded by coworkers, bravely plugging on through my daily routine. But it somehow seems so unimportant. I am randomly gripped by an overwhelming grief, and I start to cry. But I have to keep it under control. Professional. So I just breath heavily.

I am so grateful for the support from everyone around me. My friends, my family, my coworkers; all have rallied around us to let us know: we are not alone. I keenly miss my father, one of the best and godliest men I have ever known. No one can replace that earthly position he filled in our lives. But we have a heavenly Father, one who will never leave us nor forsake us. He is the one who gives me peace and joy through my grief. He is the One who helps me keep going when all I want to do is give up.

Thank you to everyone who has allowed God to show love through you. Thank you for serving and comforting and being a shoulder to cry on. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I love you guys. Because of you, I know I’m not alone.

Allen D. Parfitt

Ken Parfitt – Photo for Test and Measurement World Magazine

This photo of Ken Parfitt was taken at Harris Corporation Jan. 1. The photographer worked for Test and Measurement World, and Ken was the supervisor of the man who won the award for Test Engineer of the Year.l The photograph appeared in the Test and Measurement World magazine. The article with the photo can be read here: Test for the digital battlefield at Harris RF Communications.

Ken’s story to submit to his college alumni magazine

Ken Parfitt, the love of my life, has left this world to be with his Lord forevermore. He left behind a history of service to God that many men would wish for.

 

Ken was raised in a small town in Western Upstate New York and had an aptitude for two things: electronics and humor. He narrowed down his college choices to LeTourneau College and began attending in the fall of 1982. He was 17 when he arrived on campus. One of the main reasons he chose LeTourneau was the fact that it was a Christian college. He chose to work to get an Electrical Engineering Technology degree and did well his first semester. He didn’t like the heat of East Texas, but he enjoyed the many activities on campus. His humor showed up time and again as he and his dorm mates planned activities to pass the time between studies. When he later lived off campus, he made some poor personal choices and his relationship with God was weakened. Then he met me at work at the local newspaper and I challenged every one of his beliefs about God. It was a lot of work for him to prove me wrong on every point, because I had been raised in a cult (WCG) and I was as indoctrinated as they get. But he had many good professors to help him dig out from the Bible the proofs of what he believed so that he could show them to me.  And the good thing about LeTourneau was that these were not his theology professors. They were his welding professor, his computer professor, his electronics professor. He patiently kept pointing me to the Jesus of the Bible, and I was finally saved by Jesus’ blood alone. Gone were my law-keeping and my reliance on membership. In their place was a sealed promise from God the Father to keep me until Christ came for me. We married after this and he spent two years as a married student, working full-time and caring for his new wife and son. He graduated in the spring of 1988.
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Allen’s Real-Life Nightmare: Locked out of his Laptop!

I had a nightmare yesterday. My new laptop came on Wednesday, and because I was out all day and evening, I barely had time to set it up and log in before I went to bed. I was super excited, because I haven’t had a laptop in over 6 months.

Well, last evening, I opened my laptop and turned it on and tried to log in. Wrong password. Oh, snap. I tried again. And again. And again… I could not believe that I had forgotten my password. See, I knew what two words made up the password, but I could not figure out which letters were capitalized, and which had number substitutes.

So here I was, with a brand new laptop, and no way to get in. I mean *NO* *WAY*. I hadn’t had time to create a password restore disk, or an OS backup disk. I was sunk. Dad said to call Dell and find out if they could remotely get me back in. Well, I didn’t have the software warranty thing. I could get it for something like $250, or I could pay a one-time charge of $80 for them to unlock my computer. No way.

I did have the option of reinstalling the OS, since I had access to a legal copy if Windows 7 from school. I started the download, which would take… 8 hours? Besides, I didn’t really want to reinstall the OS.

I found a web page (using my desktop computer) that listed 6 different tools for getting into such an account. However at least 4 of them required that I have access to another account on the computer. Um… not an option – there was only one account, and it was locked!

I tried two of them, plus another tool from another page, and none of them worked. I was feeling really unhappy. I happened to see that my friend Parker, a fellow computer geek and a good friend, was on Gchat. So I told him my issue and asked what he’d do. His comments didn’t sound too hopeful, but then he contacted our mutual geek friend Stephen, who told him of a tool, and then Parks sent me the link. Like the cliche of a man clutching at straws (except this was more like a 2×4) I downloaded the tool and burned it to a CD – the third CD of the night.

I tried it, and alas, though it said that my password was erased, I still couldn’t log in. I was very sad at this point. But then I though, well, maybe I had to use the tool to reactivate my account, not just clear the password. So I did that. (I don’t know how many times I had to reboot the poor machine!)

And behold, the computer started up and loaded right into my account. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!!!!! You cannot imagine the relief when that happened. Well, maybe you can, but the ordeal is over now. It took me over 4 hours to hack into my account! I will be much more careful in the future.

George Wishart – Martyr for Jesus Christ, Part 3 (final)

Third and final part of three in the George Wishart series. Read part 1 and part 2.

Soon after his return to Montrose, the cardinal again conspired his death, causing a letter to be sent him as if it had been from his familiar friend, the laird of Kennier, in which it was desired with all possible speed to come to him, as he was taken with a sudden sickness. In the meantime the cardinal had provided sixty men armed to lie in wait within a mile and a half of Montrose, in order to murder him as he passed that way.

The letter came to Wishart’s hand by a boy, who also brought him a horse for the journey. Wishart, accompanied by some honest men, his friends, set forward; but something particular striking his mind by the way, he returned, which they wondering at, asked him the cause; to whom he said, “I will not go; I am forbidden of God; I am assured there is treason. Let some of you go to yonder place, and tell me what you find.” Which doing, they made the discovery; and hastily returning, they told Mr. Wishart; whereupon he said, “I know I shall end my life by that bloodthirsty man’s hands, but it will not be in this manner.”

A short time after this he left Montrose, and proceeded to Edinburgh, in order to propagate the Gospel in that city. By the way he lodged with a faithful brother, called James Watson of Inner-Goury. In the middle of the night he got up, and went into the yard, which two men hearing they privately followed him. While in the yard, he fell on his knees, and prayed for some time with the greatest fervency, after which he arose, and returned to his bed. Those who attended him, appearing as though they were ignorant of all, came and asked him where he had been. But he would not answer them. The next day they importuned him to tell them, saying “Be plain with us, for we heard your mourning, and saw your gestures.”
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