Bible Study Backstory From My Beloved Friend of 34 Years

With tremendous joy, I’d love to introduce you to Johnnie Haines, one of the dearest friends I’ve ever had. She is my coworker here at Living Proof but, girlfriend, she was my coworker long before either of us dreamed there would ever be an actual ministry building. We go way, way back to the days when my tiny dining room was stacked to the sky and strewn to the winds with the complete chaos of somebody who’d just fallen in love with the Scriptures. I’ll hand this to her and let her tell you a little bit about our story together.



Hi, my name is Johnnie and I am blessed to answer your emails concerning Bible Studies here at Living Proof Ministries. This week I received an email from a young woman who wanted to know how she could get started writing and teaching Bible Studies. She wanted to know how Beth got started. The answer to that question was just too long for an email answer so I thought I might share with all of you a little bit of Living Proof history.


I met Beth in the fall of 1980. I had one little boy and I had just left the corporate world to stay home with my little guy. I applied for a part time job to teach Mother’s Day Out at my church. There just happened to be an opening in a classroom where another young mom was teaching. That young mom had one little girl and she, like me, was looking for a little income to supplement the family budget. I was introduced to Beth Moore and we became fast friends on the very first day. (This is me, Beth, with a short interjection: picture that I had a side pony-tail and my skirt was too short.) We bonded over peanut butter sandwiches and little children. (Beth again: we ate their leftovers.) As time went on, we solved most of our world’s problems either at her kitchen table or mine. We worked on our marriages, our homes and our extended families. (Beth again: what Johnnie is not telling you is that I’d sometimes decide to leave Keith after he’d head out for work but drop by her house on my way to my mother’s and she’d talk me into going back to him by afternoon. It is such a funny, warm memory to me now. Gotta have friends like that. She’d listen. She’d understand. Then after a few hours, she’d ask me if I felt better after talking it out and I always did. Then I’d go on back home without Keith knowing that I’d left him that day. Now, back to Johnnie…) We both went on to have another child, me a boy, she another girl. Our children were raised jointly between us. Life was good for these two young moms in northwest Houston.


After a few years, God opened different doors for ministry for us both. Beth taught Sunday School and had begun to speak at churches outside our area. I was the Director of Women’s Ministries at a local church. She wanted a place to teach week-day Bible Study and I had a group that needed a teacher! For the first couple of semesters, she prepared and taught faithfully. Then, the women wanted homework of all things. We prayed about it and Beth knew God was calling her to write, so she decided to see how God was going to work it all out.


By now, we both had young school age children. So, as soon as the bus picked up her girls, she sat down at her dining room table and began to work on a “word-processor.” It was long before computers and she was blessed to have a glorified typewriter that had a little bit of memory. As soon as mine got on the bus, I headed to the church to my job there. By 2:30, she was getting up from the dining room table to get ready to welcome the girls back home and get dinner ready for the family. I was doing the same thing at my house.


Bible study met on Thursday mornings at 9:30. Most weeks, she would finish the week’s homework on Wednesday afternoon. I would leave my office and run by her house to pick up the work she had placed in her mailbox. As soon as my family was fed dinner, I would leave my husband in charge and run to the church and begin copying the homework, loading it in the back of my mini-van as I finished. Each week was more than 30 pages in length. On Thursday morning, I would unload the mound of pages on to tables in the fellowship hall of my church. Ladies volunteered to come in early and put them together for the almost 300 women who would show up faithfully at 9:30. For those of you who are into details, that was over 9000 sheets of print each week!


I’m not sure either of us imagined what God was going to do with those studies. She wrote 3 studies for our little group before the first one was ever published. It was an amazing thing for me to hold that first workbook in my hand and then pass them out to my women for Bible Study. I was so blessed to share her hard work with my women. I still feel the very same way when someone calls to order a study for their women’s group or ask a question about the studies.


So, to answer that young woman’s question, “How do I get started writing Bible Studies?” I would tell you to work hard right where you are today. Use the talents, circumstances, and resources God has given you today. Study hard, surrounding yourself with good teachers. Be faithful with today’s gifts, trusting Him with the results of tomorrow. You just never know what may happen!


88 Responses to “Bible Study Backstory From My Beloved Friend of 34 Years”

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  1. 1
    mongupp says:

    These studies have helped me tremendously to grow in faith! Thank you Johnnie and Beth!

  2. 2
    Chris Adams says:

    I love this. In 1994 LifeWay comes into the picture! Now 20 yrs later…oh my, what a journey. Who would have imagined? Lots more than 9000 pages a week now. Only God. Thank you Johnnie and Beth for letting us reminisce. And Johnnie, your wisdom is right on…serve faithfully where you are right now and leave the rest up to God!

  3. 3
    Bethany (Money) Scott says:

    I remember going to child care on Thursday mornings so my mom could “go to Miss Beth’s Bible study.” 🙂

    • 3.1
      Donna says:

      Bethany, Is “Money” your maiden name? I’m only asking cause it’s my family name. And we don’t see that name much.

  4. 4
    Delinda Neville says:

    Behind a good teacher is a trusted, reliable, encouraging and faithful friend. Such a pleasure to meet you, Johnnie 🙂 Thank you for your humility to serve Him alongside Beth.

  5. 5
    Gayle Scott says:

    I can see how you two would have hit it off. It was pure joy to get to know Johnnie, and Beth’s studies have touched me in ways I’m still discovering. I was listening on line last week and was so sad to realize I don’t have a fresh word to look forward to this spring. So thankful to have learned lessons from both of you. So appreciate your transparency and love for Jesus.

  6. 6
    Lori Smith says:

    I am new to your blog but not new to your Bible studies. The women’s ministry at my small church has done many of your Bible studies. There have been many of your studies that have helped me understand and encourage me through some very dark times in my life. I just want to that you Beth Moore for your amazing God given skill of writing studies that are anointed by the Holy Spirit to speak into the hearts of so many women (and I’m sure men). Thank you for your faithfulness to His Son, His Holy Spirit and to Him.
    Thank you,

  7. 7
    Beth G says:

    I LOVED this! Thanks for sharing your “real” selves! Stories like this make it easy to see God’s work in our lives.

  8. 8
    Trinna says:

    I am nearly in tears at this because these bible studies have meant so much to me. Thank you, Beth, Johnnie and the countless others who put the workbooks and videos into my hands. The first one I did was the original version of “David,” as a college student who desperately needed forgiveness and redemption. How tender of God to place me in that study at that time. Love Him so much.

  9. 9
    Marty Sholars says:

    Wow! I love this story! I had no idea how far back you guys go! An amazing story of God’s “6degrees”!!!

  10. 10
    Colette says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I love how God orchestrates ALL of our friendships throughout our lives! He amazes me! Our friendships are priceless! Our friends are God’s gift of Love in person! I am thankful for ALL my friends in real life AND my blog friends! But most importantly for my special friend, Jesus! 🙂

  11. 11
    Julie Woodruff says:

    Memories…this made me smile really big! Love you both. Thanks for your faithfulness all these years.

  12. 12
    Mary G. says:

    Welcome Johnnie! Can I just say thank you… you have been a faithful and true friend to our dear Beth over the years and I know I can say without a doubt that God has used you so mightily in our dear friend Beth’s life in more ways then mentioned here to help her grow into her beautiful purpose. We sure do love her here on this blog and I’m sure you had no idea the ripple effect your years of being a faithful friend to Beth and a faithful servant of Christ – the blessing it would be, to me included. Let me dear sister, say thank you. I have a friend like that her name also Beth. I’m embarrassed to admit it, even though single I could just imagine if I were married showing up at my friend Beth’s home frustrated saying I’m so done! Her cutting through the confusion in her wonderful Godly way and then her saying, are you ready to go home now? Grin. I’m so glad you stopped by! I also have to mention before reading this post I read a quote by C.S. Lewis that is so fitting..The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us. Amen and amen. God Bless you dear sister.

  13. 13
    Annette Baal says:

    A lovely story, ladies. Thanks for sharing. Beth, my son showed me an app that you will love! Check out Post It Plus. I know how you love your stickies. I do too! Have a blessed day with Jesus.

  14. 14
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Johnnie, it is soo nice to ‘meet’ you! The back story was great:) that stage where you both were is where I am now…I have a bunch to learn still, really, I think with each season of living The Lord sees fit to give me. I very much want to do this wife and mom thing well…I would love to be more involved with women’s ministry as the older my children get. I am not completely sure what that will look like either, but you have reminded me today that it is ok:) Serving and learning from where I am right now is good for me. His timing is best:) Again, so happy to ‘meet’ you Johnnie! Blessed day to you and Siesta Mama Beth today:)

  15. 15
    Melissa Messer says:

    What a lovely story, straight from the heart. I can picture big smiles on both of your faces, as you remember…

    Friendships like this are few and far between, and are most definitely orchestrated and ordained by God Himself.

    Thanks for sharing, and blessings-on-top-of-blessings to you both.


  16. 16
    Catherine says:

    Exodus 35:34
    And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.

    I thought of how God has qualified you and Beth to teach others…God is good!
    So thankful for those who know how to encourage us!
    Hebrews 10:23-25New International Version (NIV)
    23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

  17. 17
    Beverly Skinner says:

    Thank you for this, Johnnie. LOVE this story. LOVE that it began at BCBC. Such love and faithfulness in that little church. Only God. Only God could have done all this!

  18. 18
    Dawn Bouchard says:

    Thanks for answering that young woman’s question in such a creative way, Johnnie (& Beth)!! So far today I’ve only managed to finish up my homework for Week 4 of COTD, and finish up preparations for teaching next week’s lesson to my 1st grade Sunday School kiddos … about when God shows His glory to Moses in the desert and calls him to ‘fulfill his ministry’ and lead the Hebrews to freedom. And then your blog post came to my inbox … and I just want to say THANK YOU so much for ‘fulfilling your ministries’, ladies! It gives me goosebumps to think of how far & wide God has caused the ‘ripples’ from those 1st Bible studies to flow … just like the ripples of Moses faithfully with the Hebrews for 40 years through that desert 🙂 Thanks for being such faithful carriers of God’s grace for all these years … again, like Moses (and all of us!) it may be a somewhat mangled and leaky ‘container’ of grace, but God keeps plugging the holes and smoothing out the kinks and pouring out His glory and blessing on so many through you…thank you SO MUCH, dear sister! You are a constant challenge to me to ‘fulfill my ministry’ and be that faithful carrier of His grace right where I am, every day. Blessings on y’all!

  19. 19

    I LOVE stories like this! Thank you for sharing! It’s helps us get more well-rounded picture.
    Speaking of pictures….to make this post complete, you know we all want to see a photo of the two of you back in the day! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • 19.1
      Uncle Bill Young says:

      MS Kristen,
      I totally agree with your comment and would also like to see this post properly completed. Don’t let up until someone provides the photos, you requested.   
      I also thank them for sharing!
      Yours truly,
      Uncle Bill
      (Uncle to Johnnie’s daughter in love, brother to daughter’s mother and a big fan in Jesus Christ their mission work)

  20. 20
    Vicki says:

    Ladies: First, thank all of you for all you do to bring the message Beth tells us in the bible studies. I know it is a group effort and have developed a longing for the video studies. Through your studies, I have been convicted of sin, realized blessings, and written in my bible like it is a 12-year old girl’s diary.
    I am requesting something of you all. It has been on my mind and heart for weeks. Will you please do a study about marriage? The first lesson we learn in the bible is from a marriage. My husband and I are reading about the love/respect in Ephesians. I would love to discover through a Beth study what she can uncover about marriage in the word.
    The last study our group did, Beth noted that in the last days, Satan would seek to destroy marriage. I see it. When a marriage fails, it affects the children, the job, the other family members, the friends, etc. No one goes unscathed!
    I know there is something special coming from y’all. I can feel it. I’m confident you will rock the hearts and minds of women. I can’t wait. You’re excited, too, aren’t you!
    I love y’all.
    Vicki Thurmond in Northeast Georgia
    John 14:27

  21. 21
    Patti Reavis says:

    Praise God for His gift to us. Beth has done so much to help us fall in love with His word. I love you, Beth.

  22. 22
    Debby Sawtell says:

    Thank you both so very much for your faithfulness <3. My first Beth study was "Sing A New Psalm" at The Met. When Beth began explaining about Greek roots and tenses, I was hooked for life! Taking "Children of The Day" this fall at Second Baptist.

  23. 23
    Susan says:

    Loved hearing this story and know I am so thankful for Beth’s writing Bible studies. Even more so right now: You see I am homeschooling my twin 11th grade 17-year old BOYS and we are studying Beth’s Daniel bible study (which I have completed twice over the years and so many more of Beth’s studies). Can I say my 17-year old BOYS love Beth’s video sessions associated with the study. This has been an amazing time completing this study with my sons. We discuss the study at the beginning of each week and I can’t tell how excited I get listening to their answers. We only have 4 sessions left so we’ll begin James next and then I’m thinking Jesus, the One and Only. Thank you so much for writing Bible studies!!!

  24. 24
    paula says:

    Loved the back-story! Thank you both for your faithfulness. I know it has had an impact on my spiritual growth and that of many of my friends.
    If you’re taking requests for future studies, I would love to see something on Oneness in the Body of Christ.
    Prayers are appreciated from anyone reading as I discern how to use my gifts in the Body. I love the study of Scripture and facilitating studies but I’m not really a speaker/teacher. I seem to have gifts related to community building and I’m interested in research for and writing of studies. I’m in Ephesians right now and was challenged by a member of my discipleship group to write homework for us (she heard Beth’s testimony at Memphis LPL.) That’s why my interest in Oneness (Ephesians 4).

  25. 25
    Betty M says:

    Dear Beth and Johnnie,
    This was a most amusing post by the both of you. Somehow I can see you with side ways ponytails acting like mere kids yourselves but all the time serving the Lord as best you knew how.
    What is so amazing though is how it takes being faithful in those lesser things before we are entrusted with greater things. So often we want to write the earth shattering study or teach the masses when all the time He is prodding us to teach the kids, write the devotion and short study for our small groups. We need so often to remember that is where it all starts and for alot of us that is probably all He is gona ask of us, for some who have been blessed more like you, well, He is gona ask more of.
    We gotta be faithful with the less and the few before asking for more and greater. A lesson I have to remind myself of quite often when again I have our small church’s SS (Sunday School) program to head another year.
    Well done you faithful stewards and Beth I am excited to see you in Billing soon. I am staying with a dear cousin and have to make the 500 mile trip all alone!! Praying for safe travels for all.
    Betty M

  26. 26
    lynda rickey says:

    Thank you for sharing a wonderful story and a bit of advice I needed to hear. I am trying to be as faithful as I can right now and praying and hoping that God will move me to a new job. I really want to continue working with a wonderful Christian co worker who just got a promotion. Definitely would like to move with her. Praying that Jesus makes a way. I am going to be faithful to my calling no matter what. Thank you, thank you, thank you! God bless you and yours. Lynda

    • 26.1
      Sherry McClure says:

      Dear Lynda,
      Thank you so much for sharing! I am praying for you right now as you remain faithful to the calling He has on your life. Cling to Jesus! He is everything!

  27. 27
    Sandy Bowers says:

    I had to chuckle at you, Beth, putting your two cents into Johnnie’s story. That’s sort of how I imagine it would be if I was sitting with you two, listening to the story……

    So nice to hear the back story. And so nice to meet another of Beth’s support system! We ALL have been so blessed by Beth and these Bible Studies, and most certainly by those who serve right alongside her! So thankful that God put you two in that Mom’s Day Out classroom all those years ago! Who would have imagined how it would turn out?! Of course He knew!

  28. 28
    Robrenna says:

    I loved it all! Especially the part about your side ponytail, short skirt and trying to leave your husband! Y’all really are living proof. Thank God for his mercy and grace and the Holy Spirit for his guidance. You are the real deal thank you so much for that.

  29. 29
    marcia falgoust says:

    I was priviledged to study those original run off pages. Both of these ladies were instrumental in my getting into God’s word seriously. Love them both and mine is a life that was changed by Jesus using their ministries in my life. Thank you Johnnie and Beth.

  30. 30
    Donna says:

    The Lord bless you both….I worked with a Christian Ministry in Tennessee. I remember those first Bible Study books that we (staff) put together as we walked around and around a big table picking up pages. Then I moved and had to put a lot of my things in storage for a few weeks. When I returned to the storage unit, someone had broken in and taken several boxes. I was sure their plan was to return to get the rest of my things so I got a truck and took all that was left to a friend’s home. I looked through all of my boxes and discovered that my Bible and Bible study books and study aids were gone. I was grieved at first, then angry, then prayed that maybe they would help the person who took them. So if you have any of those studies from the beginning of your ministry; hold on to them…your story about the beginning of the ministry gave me some warm memories I haven’t thought about for a very long time.

  31. 31
    Beverly Deputy says:

    I attended that Bible study at that church—it was awesome then and Bible study with Beth is awesome now. I still remember how darling she was and a dynamite teacher. Thank you both!

  32. 32
    Lisa Riley says:

    It’s so fun to hear how God orchestrated and ordered your friendship. He’s so awesome!! Thank you both for using you gifts and answering the call to serve others.

  33. 33
    mercy4Drew says:

    I love old friend stories.

  34. 34

    Much needed testimony of experience. I love the picture of “stacked to the sky and strewn to the winds with the complete chaos of somebody who’d just fallen in love with the Scriptures.”

    But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

    It is good to devour every word!

    Thank you for sharing this testimony. Like that young lady, I am overwhelmed with sharing through writing the message God gives to me. Your encouragement to continue on in what we do is so very special. Thanks again!

  35. 35
    Beth Andrews says:

    Thank you for sharing the back story on this amazing ministry. I have participated in all of Beth’s studies, facilitating almost all of them. Right now I am leading COTD at two different churches. We love our Beth Moore studies so much. Your work and ministry together have been the conduit for so many changed hearts and lives.
    I appreciate especially your closing comments. I have had a dream to write since I was very young, and God has put a burning love for His Word in my heart. I have written curriculum for many of my Sunday school and Bible study classes, and now write a devotional blog (I’m just one of thousands). This past spring I left my job and am now a seminary student working toward a degree in Biblical Studies(at 53!). Right now, I’m working hard on my studies, writing my devotionals and letting Him unfold whatever He has in store for me.
    God bless you Beth and Johnnie and all the dedicated women at Living Proof Ministries.

  36. 36
    Suey caldwell says:

    Sweet sweet amazing memories!
    Delight thyself in the Lord and HE shall give you the desires of your heart! Ps 37:4
    I am very thankful to be a part of these early days with my BETHY.
    Thanks for postin. Luv you both
    Have fun!

  37. 37
    Jennifer Mosher says:

    Thank you and God bless you ladies—my sisters in Christ who love the Word and Jesus and others! So many of us are blessed by your obedience; how many more could and will be blessed by our own obedience to whatever God calls us to do? “Magari” as the Italians say!! (If only it could be, or don’t I wish….we need a ‘magari’ in English, I think.)
    Thanks a lot!

  38. 38
    Judy Guenther says:

    Welcome Johnnie! I have such fond memories of those Thursday morning Bible studies at MBC. What an earnest group of young women we were! We loved the Word and we loved you and Beth. Always did, always will!

  39. 39
    Vanessa says:

    A blessing to hear the back story of your friendship. I can see the two of you having that conversation live. It would be the same with my best friend of 28 years. Welcome Johnnie, it is great to meet you.

  40. 40
    Lisa Braun says:

    This sweet post was such a joy to read!! ♡ As I read it, memories of these past 21 years of leading Bible studies in my home/community/church just flooded through my mind/heart. We’ve done oodles of studies by different authors but none have resonated with me like Beth’s studies have. Maybe having two girls myself and a son have something to do with it…or perhaps having been in Israel 4 times with Arie Harel as my guide….I don’t know exactly why God has me loving these studies the most but He does. 🙂 It’s been an amazing journey and I can hardly believe the places God has taken me to, especially in the past 8 years. In 2006 He took me to Bolivia and had me in Bible study with 70 missionary and Spanish women in a home where women were in the study called Believing God…that is whwre I was introduced to Beth’s studies. Now that missionary friend is back in Canada and in my home with 26 other women and we are journeying through Children of the Day together. ♡ Wow! There’s about 100 of us in 4 different groups going through that study. 🙂 God has taken me physically to Egypt, Jordan, Israel on these Bible study journeys and most recently through the footsteps of Paul and John in Turkey and Greece. I began the Children of the Day study right in Thessaloniki….can you imagine!!! Wow!! What a wild ride He’s had me on!! 🙂
    My girls are 10 years younger than your girls but I so resonate with many of your girl raising stories! 🙂 Again…I really enjoyed this blog post. I’m not onnthis blog that often but when God does bring me on it, it’s always a gooder. 🙂 Love you gals!!! Thank you so much for giving your lives to Jesus theough Bible study….I can SO relate to that! I have a confession to you… name is Lisa Braun….and I’m a full-blown Bible study addict. 😉

  41. 41
    Kay Martin says:

    Enjoyed your post, Johnnie, and Beth’s interjections as well! God has been so good to multiply this ministry in such a way we see God’s hand all over it. What a blessing both of you have been in my life!!!

  42. 42
    aura says:

    what i love about this post is God’s faithfulness and both of your faithfulness to Him and each other…and beth’s to keith;)xoxo so glad NJ is on the LPL tour in 2015!!!

  43. 43
    Diana A. says:

    OOOHHHHH can we hear more? That was GREAT!!!

    What a hoot! How BLESSED to found each other!

    I too had a good friend, unfortunately she is not a believer, but she got me through my young mothering years and through my leaving home without him knowing too!!!Sadly, we are not close any longer.

    300 attendees – WOW!!! God had opened that door and pushed those ladies in 😉 He Had a Plan!!!

    Fun to hear! Thanks 🙂

  44. 44

    So neat to hear this backstory! Thanks to both of you for sharing, and thanks, Johnnie, for the wisdom you shared in your last paragraph. It can be applied to so many different situations and pursuits.

  45. 45
    Julie Reynolds says:

    What a sweet surprise to see this story here! I was tickled to hear part of this at LPL in Memphis as Beth introduced us to Johnnie! What a beautiful friendship. I can only imagine what it was like to have been in those first bible studies…I still have many of those first Sunday school lessons on cassette that I have accumulated through the years. How beautiful to see God’s faithfulness in action.
    I am so thankful for Beth’s example over the years of leadership and ministry to women. When God called me to women’s ministry in 2000 after years of ministering to youth i was scared to death. I hurried to get everything I could on women’s ministry by Beth, and others. I tremble still at the faithfulness of God as He leads and equips sometimes as we just walk in obedience. Thank you both for your faithful examples.

  46. 46
    shannon conner says:

    I’m ya’ll did start out that way. I love the bible studies and the homework, I learn better that way. 🙂

  47. 47
    Charlene P says:

    Johnnie, I really enjoyed your post, I know (and I am sure Beth does too) what a blessing it is to have a godly friend to give you wise counsel. I can so see myself in Beth’s interjections. Since, my personal “go to” friend has gone home to be with The Lord, your post brought back some sweet memories. Thank you

  48. 48
    Karen Vastardis says:

    Fun to read about the early days. Helps me to remember my early years as a young mom and my little church in Wyoming at that time. Those studies still live on!!! We are getting ready to start a bible study on “A Woman’s Heart” this week at a church called K2 in Salt Lake City. Prayers for the Lord to bring in the women he has planned for this study and that this study will reach women’s hearts in a life changing way would be very appreciated.

  49. 49
    Lynn says:

    The first time I was invited to a study, “A Heart Like His,” I actually asked “Who is Beth Moore? I’ve never heard of her.” Obviously that was many years ago. The friend who invited me was so eager to have me come that she bought my workbook!

  50. 50
    Joyce Watson says:

    I must admit I have a “Bible Study” Addiction. Each summer I get a new study and sit down quietly to take it all in, especially when it is a Beth Moore study. I have all Beth’s hardback books and even some of her poem books. I love and treasure each one.
    I use to lead in Bible study at our church, but unfortunately our little church has dwindled…yet, I cannot stop. I still study on my own and use the DVD’s etc. So, THANK YOU for being such a BLESSING!

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