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I am happy to share the 2013-2014 Winter Update about Ludlati Carepoint that is written by Childrens HopeChest. I have copied the post here, and here is a link to their post:
Click for Ludlati Carepoint 2013-2014 Winter Update
Manzini Staff in Swaziland
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
Christmas in Swaziland was a special time for the CarePoints. The kids were on break until the end of January when the next school year begins. The CarePoints had a temporary influx of kids during part of the break due to the older kids, who aren’t able to make it to the CarePoint during the school year because they get out of school too late, joining the rest of the kids after chores are done. The D-team and SLA finished up the year with discipleship and lessons about the true meaning of Christmas.
Within the ministry in Swaziland, we have seen many milestones and accomplishments throughout the 2013 calendar year. An increase in the number of children at most of our CarePoints indicates that more children are being fed physically but more importantly, spiritually almost every day. We have seen the first class of SLA students (Swazi Leadership Academy) disciple at the CarePoints four days a week. Not only have the children benefited from the presence of the SLA young persons, but we have also watched these SLA students grow spiritually themselves.
Another positive reflection for this year was that the staff in Swaziland hosted over 45 teams. This means that thousands of children were given individual attention and love. In addition to each child hearing about the love of Jesus, they were perhaps given a needed backpack or new socks and shoes. Physical and spiritual needs were met for so many children this past year! What an amazing year in Swaziland! We have so many things to thank God for!
The kids of Ludlati would like to extend a huge thank you to the Known to Me Community for donating the funds for an outdoor cooking structure at the CarePoint. This will allow the ladies to continue to cook, even on cold, rainy days and provide a hot meal for the children. With your love and support, you have created a well-established CarePoint that will last for generations.
Anyone that has met D-Team member Londiwe knows that she not only sings beautifully but music is her passion. She recently put her love of music and her love of the CarePoint kids together to initiate our first ever talent competition. She worked really hard organizing everything for the Saturday event that hosted 11 CarePoints with over 300 kids competing in singing, crafts, and poetry. Judges included many famous people in Swaziland such asTimbutini native DibaDiba as well as a former Mr. Swaziland. To the delight of all the performers, Manzini child gospel star Nonhle (age9) and her little sister (age4) performed several times throughout the day.
While the judges were busy calculating their scores, a group of girls and a group of boys from Thembeni Care Point performed traditional Swazi dances. A guest speaker informed the kids about sexual abuse and how to report it. After the awards were handed out, the kids enjoyed a special meal of chicken, rice, and salads before heading home. To say the day was amazing would be an understatement! We look forward to this becoming an annual event and growing to involve all of our CarePoints.
Swaziland Leadership Academy
With the beginning of a new year, comes transition for the Swaziland Leadership Academy. Phendulile, who has been an integral part of the Ludlati CarePoint this year, will transition out of her role. Her presence at the CarePoint and impact on the kids has been priceless. Her goals this year were teaching the kids about stewardship, making sure they have a real relationship with Christ and expecting academic excellence.
A word from Phendulile
I was so blessed to be part of Ludlati carepoint this year. I loved the way that the kids related to me as their older sister who they can learn from. I loved that they could come to me to talk about their struggles. I also enjoyed the relationship I had with ladies at the carepoint. They called me their ‘little daughter’.
The highlight of my year was the carepoint talent competition. The kids enjoyed it so much and I won a trophy for ‘best supportive leader’. This trophy will always remind me of my time with the carepoint kids and how was able to support, mentor, guide and encourage them.
Thank you for coming to visit us in July. Thank you for supporting us and for your prayers; we don’t take it for granted. We also thank you for the letters you write us; it shows us that we are constantly in your thoughts.
Lelo Nkambule began working with AIM in 2005 as a translator for visiting teams. After he completed his training as an electrician we hired him in 2008 as our Project Manager overseeing all the building projects. Lelo is also our Community Liaison, mediating with local community leaders over any disputes or concerns they have regarding the CarePoints. He has had a large impact in the community where most of the Manzini CarePoints operate. Any time we need to sit down with a chief for any reason,Lelo leads our delegation.
Over the years Lelo has built or overseen the building of nearly $500,000 worth of community development capital projects, from kitchens to churches to bath/shower houses to anything else you can think of we’ve built at CarePoints. Additionally, he leads any community based building such as homes for widows or home repairs; Lelo leads teams or does it himself with his own team of builders.Lelo is now training others to keep up with the maintenance of all the structures he has built. He’s an invaluable part of our team we depend on him for so many things.
He also ran for a seat in Parliament this past fall but didn’t win. We’re sure he will in the future take a role like this in government and lead with integrity and continue to fight for the needs of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Swaziland. He has been married for over 2 years to Mantombi and has a son, Lethu.
Xolani has done a great job this year of kicking off the Sports Ministry. He has been changing the lives of young men here in Swaziland using his passion for sports. The most recent event he sponsored was a retreat for young men from some of our CarePoints. Along with the help of several of the SLA guys, 55 young men were able to attend their first ever retreat. They had sports training sessions, biblical training sessions, good food, a local soccer star motivating them, more soccer training, a movie and popcorn, and a host of other activities.
Several of the boys gave their life to Christ during the retreat! It was an awesome retreat for the boys and for the sports ministry. One of the big things that Xolani is trying to bring change to is the multitude of children here without fathers. He also has taken on the responsibility of doing his own fund-raisers to host events like the retreat as well as trying to raise the funds to purchase a vehicle to make his ministry even more efficient and successful.
If you would like to order a t-shirt, there is still time! You can find Xolani on Facebook by searching Sport for Christ Outreaches. If you would like to donate to his ministry, you can click on the give tab on the CHC website, indicating that the donation is for the Swaziland Sports Ministry in the Notes section.
Pray for the D-team, current SLA, & new SLA
Pray for the transitions in the new year
Pray for the wisdom of the missionary staff and their ministry efforts
Pray for the bomake that volunteer to cook for the children at the Care Points
Pray for the safety and health of the children at the CarePoints
Pray for the kids and families as they try to gather the funds needed for school fees
Pray that God will raise up laborers for the harvest in Swaziland
Zandile (Bomake means “Other Mother” She cooks at Ludlati Carepoint)
Posted by Don at 01:19 AM.
Care Point •
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In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
Deep stuff. I’m feeling a need to lighten it up a bit before proceeding.
So that’s kind of what it looks like, I guess… when we force our solutions and beliefs systems onto others. Ridiculous, really. Our job is all about charity - love, and relationships. Making God known and visible by demonstrating His love and who He is. So many don’t know Him, and are without hope. That’s a tragedy. Let’s show them who He is. And trust Him to whip them into shape if needed.
I need to let people know they NEED Him, and that there are real, beautiful reasons they WANT Him. Then we can teach, and He can shape us all. But there’s time for that, and there is no time for removing the liberty He intends in the non-essentials. For now, with those who are lost, and with those who are not - Let’s focus on the charity in all things. It’s sad that seems to be such a lost concept in all aspects of our society where we are so much more focused on our rights and how we are wronged than turning the other cheek and loving when people are not very lovable.
Posted by Jim at 05:10 PM.
Jim's Existential Ramblings •
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As the volunteer Ludlati Carepoint Coordinator and Swaziland Travel Team Leader, I want to humbly and sincerely thank all 28 families and individuals who partnered with us to become Ludlati Carepoint Sponsors. Not only am I thankful, but the ladies who cook at Ludlati Carepoint want me to tell you, “We thank God for you!” Because of your monthly support, letters and support of team visits, this community in Swaziland has renewed hope and joy.
Our current community has 28 sponsors matched with 52 of our Ludlati neighbor kids. That is an average of 1.8 kids per sponsorship. I can say with confidence as an eye witness over the last four years and four visits to Ludlati Carepoint that your consistent giving of $34 a month per child is very well utilized to produce proactive positive results in our neighbor kids lives and their community. From the beginning we have witnessed physical and spiritual growth and health. We have also seen God answer our prayers for protection, provision, peace, healing and joy for specific kids and needs!
The kids physical health of the children has improved with consistent provision of nutritious food. We thank God for the six ladies who share the cooking rotation duties over the last four years plus. These faithful ladies have done and continue to do a great service. The return for their hard work is simple. They get supplemented food for themselves and their children, but I believe their eternal rewards are stored up in great proportions. Come spend a week with these amazing ladies during our next team visit in 2014 to Ludlati and you will learn by their example how one can be faithful, joyous and thankful to God in the face of suffering. You will also make six new friends.
The spiritual discipleship training for the Ludlati Children which started at 1 day per week is now increased to 4 days per week. In the face of hardship, poverty and many cases loss of one or both parents, these children are taught to be thankful for the life they have, trust God to guide them, and Jesus is Lord and Savior of all. Their teacher is Phendulile Soko [Pen-doo-lee-lay So-ko] (new Discipleship Leader) who we had the pleasure to meet and work along side her during our visit in July. We found that her love for the Ludlati Kids is just as great as Londiwe Dlamini’s (former Discipleship Leader) love is. Phendulile is the Ludlati kids leader, mentor, counselor and disciplinarian when necessary. She also serves as a translator for our travel team during our Carepoint and Homestead visits. She grew up and lives in the local community, and she was invited to train with the Swaziland Leadership Academy (SLA) and commit to two years of leadership work.
Phendulile visits the kids homesteads to find out what is well or wrong in their lives. She shows she cares about them and encourages them to reach for the strength and character that God provides when they give their lives to Him and pursue His love. She is very compassionate toward the children and she also communicates clear expectations of the kids to show respect, participate in training and singing, and be helpful at Ludlati Carepoint. The kids trust her and come to her to share and counsel about their problems. Phendulile receives about $100 of pay per month and some education scholarship funds after her two year commitment is fulfilled. But she gives more than a full time effort and heart to this work. She was selected to become an SLA leader because she is a follower of Christ and had demonstrated talent and character. She told me her increased awareness and compassion for the kids has caused her to change from a career pursuit to become a Lawyer to Environmental Studies so she can return for betterment and service to her community and country. I am excited to see a sustainable cycle of leadership development begin and result in positive change through young Christ following Swaziland citizens. Phendulile and those who train and follow will lead the way for their own communities as mentors and role models for all the kids to pursue real change and life in Christ.
From the beginning we have a vision for growth and development for the kids and carepoint. The long term goal and vision is to disciple and train the kids so they come to know Christ, provide support needed to thrive physically, and teach the life skills needed to sustain themselves and their family as they mature. One of those vision initiatives was to build up a garden and teach the kids the skills they need to grow fruits and vegetables. The vision for a garden is coming to fruition. A garden was started in 2012 at Ludlati Carepoint and has quadrupled in size in 2013! A Swaziland person with Oxen was hired to plow up the ground and the ladies have planted many vegetable shoots and fruit trees obtained from the Childrens HopeChest (CHC) and Adventures in Missions (AIM) self sustaining farming program. Some of our travel team members had the pleasure of expanding the garden together with the ladies and leaders. The garden is planted with spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, lettuce and there are some mango and orange fruit trees started around the perimeter. The ladies are already using produce from the garden to supplement the rice, beans and wheat meals they cook and provide to the children. Next year the garden will be expanded and kids will begin training and working a plot of garden for themselves to teach skills of self sufficiency. The farm program mentioned is being rolled out among all the CHC carepoints. Some carepoints are growing cabbages the size of basketballs which get shared and distributed among the kids at all the carepoints.
During our 2013 visit we learned of a new initiative to fulfill a vision to disciple teenage boys and transform them into men who follow Christ through a soccer program. The work being done with the children is great, but as these children turn into teenagers and young adults there are many pitfalls and opportunities for mistakes that perpetuate the cycle of AIDS, broken families and alcoholism in Swaziland. This vision is a soccer program that will keep young men engaged with discipleship leaders doing something constructive which is playing soccer! We are excited to learn that Ludlati Carepoint will become the central location that this ministry is built around. Funding for this ministry will not come from our sponsorship funds, but it is coming from different sources answering the call to support this vision. Ludlati Carepoint will be at the center of this exciting action. A regulation size soccer field will be built at Ludlati Carepoint and two or three other carepoints around the region. Teams of young men will be formed and the soccer fields will be located so teams can walk to each others fields for competitions. Integrated into all the training and games will be discipleship to transform boys to men and sharing of the Gospel in the communities. A similar ministry for girls is also being developed using a ladies sport called netball. This is another important part of all the transformative work being done in Swaziland by Swaziland citizens with financial support and friendships from God’s people from around the world. Together as one community we hope and believe God will break the cycle of AIDS, broken families, and alcoholism so He can transform, save and heal the nation of Swaziland.
We have called the Ludlati Carepoint kids our neighbor kids from the beginning, but over these last four years our relationships between our community of sponsors, travel team members and the Ludlati kids and six ladies who cook and feed them has grown into a loving community of friendship with Jesus as the central reason. Our travel team members who have visited multiple times have experienced this in person. We are blessed to represent the entire community of sponsors in communicating and sharing support and love. Going to visit in person has produced tangible growth. If we had just sent the money, money alone is not be able to give a hug, hold and nurture children, pray for a need, share in joy, sing praise songs together, visit homes in the community, or seek out a depressed, lonely, ashamed child and bring her back to the safety of the carepoint community. We are told our team visits are discussed and anticipated by the kids all year long and serve as a constant reminder that we do love them and care about their lives. We don’t just visit once and call it a good experience, we come back again and again.
I also want to be clear that the support and depth of relationships would not be so fruitful without God’s hand working in, around and through us all. By all I mean our community members here and in Swaziland. There are many variables and risks outside of our control. During our visits we share great joy and we experience enough suffering that our team members return home with wrecked hearts. I mean wrecked in a good way. Sharing in friendship and joy and witnessing their suffering smashes a knowledge deep into our hearts. We just know our friends have needs that we can support, and we seek others willing to join us in sharing our provisions as taught in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15. Since we can not control all the variables, our wrecked hearts also remind us to pray for our neighbor kids, ladies and surrounding community. We hope to convey to others the sense of urgency, joy, hope and Ludlati friendships we share, but it can be difficult to fully understand unless you go visit in person. We again say thank you to those in our 28 sponsors who responded to our urgent call from our wrecked hearts for support! As we seek others who will join us, we do what we can and have peace knowing we can rely on God’s help. During this last trip we saw some amazing answers to specific prayers for specific children!
Let me describe one young lady’s situation. Let’s call her Dee. Both her parents have died from AIDS and she has no siblings or close family support. She was so alone, depressed and ashamed of her poverty she stopped going to Ludlati Carepoint though she needed too. During our 2012 visit, we sought Dee out, found her, and encouraged her to come back. She was rejuvenated by our intervention, but we left with wrecked hearts knowing Dee’s mud house was about to cave in, she was 17 living alone in darkness facing threat of male assaults, and she had no funds for school fees. We raised the school fees soon after we returned, but we were troubled with concern for her shelter, safety and security. All year long we prayed to God for help, provision for her, guidance for us…is there something we should do…something needed to be done! We saw the answer to our prayers during our 2013 visit! We learned that Dee’s house had caved in shortly after we left, but God provided an opportunity for this young lady to trade child care for a safe place to live. It was a beautiful moment for our team members to see her smiling face and share a hug with our friend. She was happy, looked years younger, and is going to school and living in a safe, secure home. Her situation is still tough as she is the oldest person living at this homestead caring for 9, 3 and 2 year old children while going to school. God provided an answer to our prayers for Dee! She also needs our continued prayer and support.
In 2012 we met a young boy named Pila who was four years old. He was not like the other boys. He liked to be held or sit together, but he was not very interactive, responsive, or playful, and he did not smile. It looked like he may have Hydrocephalus which can cause mental disability. On the last day of our 2012 trip he finally gave a brief smile to a team member who was a teenage boy named Aidan who spent a lot of time with Pila during that visit. We left with a real concern that Pila might not live to see our next visit. Many prayers were prayed for Pila’s health and safety. Aidan was able to raise funding to go on a return visit in 2013. On the first day while driving to Ludlati Carepoint, our van passed a group of four young five year old boys walking on the side of the road. As we passed the boys recognized our team and began to running after the van though they had another mile to go. Aidan looked and recognized one of the four…IT’S PILA! IT’S PILA! He yelled with excitement and tears. And Pila was running and smiling! When we all met up at the Carepoint Pila was kicking balls, giving high fives, playing with Aidan and he smiled everyday of our visit! He was a much healthier and happier boy. God answered our prayers for Pila.
I am amazed what has been done through 28 families and individuals of Ludlati Carepoint Sponsors. We still have 53 Ludlati kids we would like to match with sponsors. We seek 28 to 53 more families and individuals to share in our friendship and joy and become Ludlati Carepoint Sponsors at $34 per month per child. We appreciate your prayers and support for more sponsorships. Please join us in sharing Ludlati Child Profiles we will post on-line with others in your friendship networks. If you can pick up one more child sponsorship yourself that is appreciated too. Share the link to the “Start Here” button to give an introduction to partnering with us through “Ludlati Carepoint Sponsorship”.
Posted by Don at 03:48 PM.
Care Point •
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“...but you’re afraid, and I’m afraid, and everyone’s afraid. And everyone knows it. But we don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
-Me Without You, in the song “Torches”.
Fear is undoubtedly our biggest but. We’re afraid of failing, afraid of social embarrasment, afraid of death, afraid of risk, afraid for our kids, afraid for our security, afraid… of just about everything just about all the time. It’s there, controlling our actions even if we’re not conscious of the emotion itself. And everyone knows it. We’ve got to get past that. Until we do we are slaves to that fear, our ciscumstances, and everything and everyone around us. Freedom. Joy. I beleive those find their one and only foundation in a lack of fear.
Cool. Great, sounds good but how do you get there? I’m glad you asked. I always tell people who ask for my opinion to be careful because I may not be right, but I have opinions that I’m happy to express. So… my opinion on this? Faith in God. Now… before you go anywhere with that, stop. I’m going to define faith in God. It means we have complete confidence and acceptance of Him and His love and care for us. That’s it. Not faith in Him doing what we want. That’s a faith in circumstances, in outcomes - not a faith in Him. That’s a faith in ourselves - a faith that says I trust me to know what is right and how God and everyone else should act. A faith that says we expect that the universe revolves around us and God’s plans and global purpose should be adapted to us. And when it isn’t we doubt, pout, and return to the fear than keeps us enslaved, preventing freedom and joy. Faith says, as Job did; “even if He slays me, yet will I trust Him”. As faith in a God that is NOT safe, but is GOOD. And is The King (stolen from Mr. Beaver in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe).
If we REALLY believe that God is GOOD, THE KING, and LOVES us more than we can ever understand… then we don’t have to be afraid anymore. An that, my friends is the key to freedom and joy.
Complete lyrics to the song Torches are below, as is a video of a live performance. Powerful stuff. Lifechanging, even.
Why burn poor and lonely under a bowl.
Under a lampshade or on the shelf
Beside the bed where at night
You lay turning like a door on it’s hinges?
(First on your left side, then on your right side, then your left side again)
Why burn poor and lonely?
Tell all the stones, we’re gonna make a building.
We’ll cut into shape & set into place or you’d rather be a window,
I’ll gladly be the frame reflecting any kind of words.
We’ll let in all the blame
(And ruin our reputation all the same)
Never mind out plan making,
We’ll start living…...anyway,
Aren’t you unbearably sad?
Then why burn so poor and lonely?
We’ll be like torches
We’ll be like torches
We’ll be torches together! torches together
Well be like torches
We’ll be like torches
With whatever respect, our tattered Dignity demands
Torches together, hand in hand
Why pluck one string - What good is just one note?
Oh, one string sounds fine i guess….We were once ‘One Note’,
We were lonely wheat quietly ground into grain
(What light and momentary pain!)
So why this safe distance, this curious look?
Why tear out single pages when you can throw away the book?
Why pluck one string when you can strum the guitar?
Strum the guitar!
Strum the guitar!
Strum the guitar!
With no beginning, with no end
Take down a guitar and strum the guitar
Strum the the guitar if you’re afraid,
And I’m afraid and everyone’s afraid
And everyone knows it but we don’t have to be afraid anymore
You played the flute but no one was dancing
You sang a sad song but none of us cried
You played such a sad song….such a sad song
Posted by Jim at 07:44 AM.
Jim's Existential Ramblings •
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Yes, for those of you cultured enough to know… that title is stolen from the American film classic, Pee Wee Herman’s Big adventure. Pee Wee is talking to a girl who tells him she always wanted to quit waiting tables and go to Paris, but she has many reasons she can’t. Pee Wee’s response is to tell her that we all have big buts. But we can’t let our big buts get in the way. So let’s talk about real community and our big buts.
42 The community continually committed themselves to learning what the apostles taught them, gathering for fellowship, breaking bread, and praying. 43 Everyone felt a sense of awe because the apostles were doing many signs and wonders among them. 44 There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed; they shared all their material possessions in trust. 45 They sold any possessions and goods that did not benefit the community and used the money to help everyone in need. 46 They were unified as they worshiped at the temple day after day. In homes, they broke bread and shared meals with glad and generous hearts. 47 The new disciples praised God, and they enjoyed the goodwill of all the people of the city. Day after day the Lord added to their number everyone who was experiencing liberation.
Acts 2: 42-47
Continually gathering, breaking bread, praying… together. In the temple, in homes, with an intense sense of togetherness. Sharing all their posessions. THAT is the Church. The Bride to Christ that is so radiant, so magnetic, so attractive, that people are drawn irresistably to Her… and to Him. As The Lord daily added to their numbers.
They had something people were hungering for. In our current culture, we don’t. If we did, we’d see people drawn to the beauty, grace, joy, and togetherness of Him, reflected in us living together. There’s just no evidence of the way we’re doing things drawing people in like that. And it should. It should be so beautiful, so different, so just… life-giving, that people cannot stay away. I believe that if we lived the way Acts 2 describes, we would have what people hunger for. Real community. Read that description of early “Church” life again. We don’t do that. We just don’t.
Continually gathering… daily. Why don’t we open up and break out of the private, closed off lives and worlds we live in? Do we have brothers and sisters, or those in need - who, as Jesus said: those who cannot repay us - daily with us, in our homes, our workplaces, on the street? Sharing life… food laughter, smiles, tears, clothes, transportation… sharing all that is part of the short life that we have?
We don’t because we have big buts. But I’m too busy, but what if that person is not safe, but we need our family time, but I need a break, but I don’t have enough, but I need to save for collegeretirementcarhousevacationemergencyfundsecurity. They really are big. I get that, because I have big buts too. We’ve recently made a decision to battle our big buts every day, and some days we can get past them. I’m confident there is enormous blessing in living in community. Jenny and I have experienced tastes of it as we’ve opened our home and time to others in ways we never imagined just a few years ago. Enough of a taste to make us want more. So look at your buts, and recognize that buts are barriers to the joy and peace God wants to pour out on us. SHARE LIFE. His spirit will lead us from there. We just need to trust and open up… he will be faithful to meet us.
Posted by Jim at 08:13 AM.
Jim's Existential Ramblings •
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I have more pictures and stories to share after our travel team has returned safely home. Some of our luggage is still on it’s way home. I hope to write a few to several more blog posts and share more details and pictures from the trip.
The pictures below are mostly from our last two days at Ludlati Carepoint. After five days of fun and scheduled plans the week before, these last two days were reserved for “being present and together” with each other. More relationship building and deepening occurred. We also spent a little time doing things like work in the garden together with the Bomake and paint a nice mural inside the small gathering room. It really felt like we were living life together over these two days as close neighbors…cherished time indeed as you will likely see in these pictures.
Posted by Don at 04:27 PM.
Ludlati Visit 2013 •
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FUN DAY!!! Lots of fun games and interactions with the kids. We shared a meal of “chicken dust” together. The ladies gave gifts to the Bomake and they really loved the picture albums that contained pictures from last year’s trip.
Posted by Don at 01:28 PM.
Ludlati Visit 2013 •
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