May 29, 2010

Betty's Closing Thoughts

Betty WisemanWell, it didn’t take me long to get a shower last night and fall into bed around 10:00 p.m. for a long and deep sleep. Today is filled with unpacking and loads of laundry, catching up on mail, checking in with family and friends, paying bills, and adjustment back at home. I’m just glad it is a holiday week-end before getting back to work on Tuesday.

It is always difficult to wrap things up on this journal. There is so much to share. After reading what these team members have written during the trip I am reminded once again of how blessed I am to lead them and to experience first hand their work and their own spiritual development. They were everything and more than I had anticipated they would it. It truly was a team ordained by and called out by God. They played their hearts out with kids of all ages, along with grown men and women, and they stood with confidence and boldness to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. The more they verbalized their faith the more confident and comfortable they became. Moms, Dads, families, friends, Coaches, and all of Belmont can be proud of how they represented you.

Continue reading "Betty's Closing Thoughts" ...

May 28, 2010

Safely Back in Nashville

The happy and weary travelers arrived safely in Nashville following a delayed flight from Chicago. Everyone seems well but quite tired from being up nearly 24 hours. After a little break and some time to reflect, Betty will provide a wrap-up post. Thanks to all who have supported this team!

May 27, 2010

Back in the States

Debbie called just a few minutes ago to let everyone know that the group is in Chicago, successfully navigated through customs, and is waiting for the last leg of air travel back to Nashville. Their expected arrival time in Nashville is just after 7:00PM (CST).

On their way... (a note from Malta Missionaries)

Well friends- they are successfully off on the plane heading back your way! Thanks once again for sharing these terrific folks with us in Malta and you will NEVER know until heaven what an impact this 9 days has made in Malta! THANK YOU!!!

Robin and Earl Pinkston,
IMB missionaries in Malta

May 26, 2010

WOW What an Amazing Week

debbie.jpgLast day—WOW what a week. We ended our ministry this morning at a girl’s school. Imagine 750 screaming teenage girls sitting outside in the “hot” sunshine around a basketball court watching our student-athletes in action – it was quite a show!!! We were able to speak with the entire school and express our true reason for being in Malta – our personal relationships with Jesus Christ.

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I can’t really describe how I have felt watching Brandon, Mick, Haley, Cacy, Drew, Adam, Whitney, Rachel, Keaton, and Tristan share their personal testimonies to hundreds of young people and adults all over Malta and watching life changing decisions being made for Christ. It has been a blessing beyond description and I thank you.

debbie-and-betty.jpgAs we get ready to head home I want to say a special thank you to Betty for leading us as only she can, to Tony for capturing our experiences, and to Belmont University for giving us the opportunity to minister in Malta. I would like to conclude with a prayer for this team as we continue our life’s journey:

I offer my life to You, Jesus Christ, for you to live in me and through me.

Here is my face – shine from it.

Here are my ears – hear the cry of hurting persons through them.

Here are my eyes – see the faces of those who need Your blessing and bless them with the healing look that radiates from You, my Lord, through my eyes.

Here is my tongue – speak through it. Speak words of encouragement and affirmation.

Here, O Lord, are my hands – use them to touch, stroke, hold, lift, and steady another human being.

Here O, Lord, are my feet – walk where You want me to go and may those who follow my footsteps be following Jesus Christ!


Trip of Meaning

daniel.jpgHow can ten days go by so fast? After leaving Nashville last Monday, it felt like it took forever to finally land in Malta on Tuesday here, but since we have been here, it has gone by so fast that I feel as though we have only been here a couple of days. This was my first mission trip, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Thursday we will leave and go back to the United States, but I will never forget this place that I have called home for a week and a half. Malta is such a wonderful place, and there is no way that anyone of us could ever be able to explain the ultimate beauty that we have taken in these past few days. It is such a small and intimate island, and all of the people have been so friendly and welcomed us in with open arms. So far with one day to go, I have taken a little over 400 pictures and I feel as though there are so many things that I have not been able to take a picture of or chose not to because there is not a way that a picture could do this place justice. We walked and stood in the same grotto that St. Paul stayed in while he was shipwrecked on Malta. That alone explains how important this little country is to our Christian background.

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While we have been here, we have been to a primary school in Mosta for 3 days and worked with kids between the ages of 7 and 10. Today, we went to an all boys secondary school in Kirkop and worked with kids from the ages of 14 to 16. We have also done work in the different communities around Malta, and we had the opportunity to play with the reigning women's national champions. We have shared at each of these events, and I had the chance to share my testimony with the women's championship team. Being able to express my feelings about Christ in front of girls my age was something that I have never done before, and it helped so much for them to be able to understand the emotions that I was feeling. Listening to everybody else share their testimonies and just talk to the kids and the people of the communities, I feel as though we have formed a bond that we will always share. The guys, Keaton, Brandon, Drew, Mick, and Adam, and us girls, Haley, Rachel, Whitney, Cacy, and myself, will always have this trip to remember and look back on anytime in the future. I have enjoyed this trip so very much.

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Words cannot express how much it has meant to me, and I just want to thank everybody who supported us as we made this journey to spread God's word.


I want to specifically thank my parents, sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins who I know have always been there for me, and I just want to say that I love you all and may God bless each and every one of you.


The Greatest Moment in Malta

brian.jpgThis past week in Malta has been filled with great moments. This is the first time I have ever been outside of the continental United States so simply stepping foot on foreign soil was significant. Once we started our mission work here it has been simply amazing. Watching my teammates give their testimony to people was an awesome experience, and the first time I spoke in front of the kids was even more awesome! I knew our time here would help the children we were going to be working with, but I did not expect this trip to have such a profound impact on my own life. Spending so much time with everyone here and talking about personal relationships with Jesus has caused me to look at my own life and my own relationship with him. Since I have been here I truly feel as though I have grown in my walk with the Lord.

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Even though we have seen some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world here, the best moment I have experienced came in a crowded locker room with only one small window. On Sunday night we were able to have a shoot around with the Maltese National team, and afterwards both men’s teams met in the locker room so we could talk to them about knowing the Lord. B-dub asked me after the shoot around to share my personal testimony with the Maltese players. I was very nervous, I had only shared my testimony once before and that was with a group of 10 year olds. This was different. Now I was being asked to talk about the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ with grown men. Once I stood up I could feel all of my nerves go away and I knew God was using me as an instrument to talk to these men. That was my best moment here in Malta, knowing that the Lord and creator of the universe used me as a device to change the lives of men.

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God's Creations

swisher-300.jpgI've now been on three mission trips after we go to our last school tomorrow. I still can't believe my mission and school life has flown by this fast it's unbelievable. Throughout this mission trip we have been many interesting places. We went to see where Paul was held captive, the girls ventured to Valetta on the great buses of malta by ourselves, worked with many schools, and visited with many kids. Today however I visited my favorite touristy place here we were able to take a little boat out into the Mediterranean Sea and go into these so called, "Blue Caves". The reason for this name was because when you went into the caves the water was so pretty and blue it was amazing. It was definitely one of God's prettiest creations!

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On this trip I was thankful that B-Dub asked us girls to sing I haven't sang in church in a really long time in front of people and it brought back old memories as Epi, Ted, Cacy, and I stood up there and sang wonderfully. Although I am sad to be going home I feel that we have successfully fulfilled our mission that God has sent us to this little island to do.

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As always I want to thank all of my family, friends, boyfriend, and second families for their support and prayers. We couldn't make these trips without having you all watch over us through out these long journeys.


Amazing God

Whitney.jpgThe trip has flown by so fast, we only have one more day here. It has been awesome and our team has really grown together over the time we have shared together. We have shared interesting experiences together, the site seeing, the van rides, the van breaking down lol, and just sharing God's amazing love to these kids and playing basketball with them. Today we went on a boat ride in Blue Grotto, it was amazing the water is so blue here and u can see the bottom in some places. It just shows how amazing God is and his beautiful creations. It was a really neat experience and Im so glad I got to share it with some of my closest friends. I am so blessed to have gone on this trip and the previous two as well. I hope to be able to continue this mission when I return home.

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Also a special thanks to the leaders Betty, Debbie, and Tony. They are amazing people and they do a great job running the trips together and making it worth while for everyone. Malta is a beautiful country and so are the people that live here as well. I can really see God working here in Malta, through missionaries and other volunteers throughout.

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Thank you for all of the support and prayers from everyone it really means a lot.


May 24, 2010

History and Serving

Mick.jpgDue to rain this morning, our scheduled plan to work with kids at a local school was cancelled. So today was a day of tourism. Even though we lost BW for a while, today was still another great day of the trip. We saw some of the oldest buildings in Malta, including the cave where Paul lived during his stay on the island and the nearby first church in Malta that he started. We were also able to visit numerous other local cathedrals as well as a museum and some of the local shops to buy some souvenirs (including ridiculously colored NBA hats that were at least thirty years old).

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Tonight we are going to Kirkop, a part of the island that we have not yet been to, to put on a basketball clinic at a primary school for people of all ages. It is on an outdoor court, so be praying that the rain will stay away and that we can have a successful session that will entertain them and be a positive influence on their lives.

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My Malta experience has been incredible. Our mission while we have been in Malta has been to invest in people’s lives through Jesus Christ, and that’s what it’s all about. The amazing part of these trips is how you come to serve others and help them develop their relationship with God, but while doing so you develop both your own relationship with God and your relationship with your teammates to an entirely new level. As the trip is coming to an end, please pray that in our time left in Malta God can work as powerfully as he has thus far and that we can do His will for the remainder of the trip.

God Bless.


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Paul's Grotto

Betty WisemanSunday was an eventful day. We attended the service at the Evangelical Baptist Church of Malta. There are three Baptist churches in all of Malta. There were approximately 75 people present, including all of us. Keaton gave a testimony that touched us all, the girls sang, Earl translated the sermon into English as we listened through earphones, and we participated in the Lord’s supper. It was a wonderful worship experience. We then proceeded to a festival between two cities where we walked around, had some local cuisine, and went back to the church for a one hour rest time before going to a gymnasium to spend time with two Maltese teams – a men’s and a women’s team. After some clinic and free play our players went into a locker room to share Christ. I wish you could have heard Haley and Tristan with the women and Adam and Brandon sharing with the men. I was present at both sessions as grown men and women gave their lives to Christ. I’m sure someone will write about the van breaking down on our way home.

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Today the rain forced cancellation of our morning at a school. So, we went sightseeing and souvenir shopping. I cannot describe all we saw, but I will tell you we went to Paul’s Grotto. We stood in the underground prison where Paul was kept during his three months in Malta. I stood by the statue of Paul that stands in the small dark cell and allowed the tears to flow, realizing that some of our scripture came from his stay in this very place. We went into the church that stands over the prison, the place where Paul baptized the first converts to Christianity in Malta. It was a morning I will never forget.

pauls church.jpg We are getting an hour’s rest before a community event this evening where we will greet people at a local community center, play basketball, give an exhibition, share the gospel, and invite people into a relationship with Christ. This is the day the Lord has made and we are rejoicing and are glad in it.


Day of Activities

drew.jpgAfter spending the last few days in the primary school, and yesterday afternoon on a beautiful beach, we got to sleep in a little this morning and rest up for a big day. We started by attending a Maltese church, where Keaton Belcher (aka. Bird) spoke in front of the church members and gave testimony. Following Bird’s testimony Haley, Cacy, Rachel and Tristan sang a harmonized song (that included a few synchronized hand claps) that had many people wondering if they should all enter the next American Idol competition. We then got to listen to a few of the locals share testimony, along with the pasture’s sermon, through a set of headphones that was giving us a translation in English.

festival.jpgFollowing church we made a stop by a Maltese festival. The streets were decked out with historical artifact decorations, with food tents all around. They also had a calming tune playing throughout the streets. Flurry, one of the locals that helps Earl, showed us around the festival and was a crowd favorite. He is a great guy that has been very helpful to us during our time here, and has become a good friend of ours.

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The next stop of the day was at a basketball club where we got a chance to play and share with some of Malta’s top basketball players. They were a great group of people, and were very receptive during a spiritual uplifting Brandon Baker (aka Havlicek) testimony. They also were amazed by Mick Hedgepeth’s (aka McHale) jumping ability when he shattered the backboard while dunking. He also was able to receive a small piece of the glass as a souvenir that will forever bring back a joyful memory for him.

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May 23, 2010

Joyful Days

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May 22, 2010

Great is the Lord

CaseyToday has been yet another great day. We had an event where anyone in the whole community could come. It was pretty awesome; I would say easily 80 people showed up. It is so neat to see how the Lord is working his magic over here in Malta. Today there was this one family that really touched my heart; the parents were there with their two daughters. One was 13 and loved to played basketball and the other was 10 years old and was a special needs kid. The family was so precious, and I got an opportunity to speak with them some. The mom and dad and their daughters where both so loving and happy. Sometimes I feel like the people who face the hardest challenges in life seem to be the happiest. I was able to give my shirt to the two girls and I will never forget the smile on their faces. I don’t know if I made a difference or impact on them, but I know they surly impacted me.

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Continue reading "Great is the Lord" ...

Trip of a Life Time

haley.jpgBeing in Malta has already been a trip of a life time, which has been full of autographs and smiles. All my life I have been to beaches and not a one could compare to the gorgeous beaches they have here in Malta. The water is so blue and sapphire that it looks like a backdrop of a photo or some type of painting, and the scenery surrounding the water is indescribable. The astonishing thing is that God created this setting and allowed this team to contribute ourselves in this beautiful country together spreading his word.

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Although the scenery and views have been so amazing, that still does not compare to the children’s faces that we saw this morning as we participated in another basketball event. This was an event where we were able to spread the gospel and invite children as well as parents to become our brothers and sisters in Christ by engaging them with basketball activities. This event was open to the entire Malta community. I truly enjoyed this event because many of the kids that we have been working with for the past three days at a school had shown up to be with us once again. These children and adults were so excited to be sharing this time with us and nothing is better than seeing a child that comes running to you screaming your name as if you’re a celebrity. It’s a great feeling to know that they were watching and listening to us as we shared about God and were pumped to spend more time with us.

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Malta a Place to Be

keaton.jpgWe have been in Malta for five days now and I can honestly say that I could live here. The island is beautiful, the food is good, they speak English and most importantly the people are outgoing and very generous. There is a Maltesian man who is staying at our hotel who I have ran into at least 3 or 4 times already and every time we see each other, he comes up to me, shakes my hand and talks to me. He’s always asking me questions about America, about Belmont, about myself. He’s a very friendly person. People like him are easy to get along with and everybody I have met from Malta has been the same way.

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Our first three days of mission work took place at a primary school where basketball is not common. In fact, basketball is not common at all in Malta (and neither is baseball). Soccer and Cricket are the main sports here. The kids were so excited that they had a chance to play American sports with real Americans. They learned both games, saw us play and even got to play against us a little bit. So after we got finished playing with them and sat them down to share our testimonies they paid very close attention to what we had to say. They saw that it was cool to be an athlete and have a special relationship with Jesus Christ and that’s the main reason we came here.

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May 21, 2010

First Experience

AdamAdamMy experience in Malta so far is something that I will remember forever. I lived in Europe when I was younger so going to schools and playing basketball with them brings back many memories that I had as a child. So far what I love the most is the influence that we as a team have on the kids. I can really sense that they look up to us and understand our ultimate purpose; to spread the word of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, I shared my testimony for the first time in front of a group. I was nervous because I have never done anything like this but it turned out really good. After I spoke and we were shooting with the kids, a kid walks up to me and says “your speech was brilliant, I really enjoyed it.” The kid has no idea but he literally made my day.

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Malta is beautiful and I am really enjoying my time here. All of the team members have made parallels between this city and setting of a Jason Bourne film. Besides loving the scenery and all the pictures we have been taking I really love working with the kids and love their accents. To be honest I’m kind of jealous and wish I could speak like them. Overall my experience in Malta has been amazing. If the first few days are anything like the last week, this will be a life changing experience for me.

--Adam Barnes

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May 20, 2010

Special Words

Day 1 and 2 Pictures

“because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved....For it has been by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
- Ephesians 2:4-5 and 2:8-10

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May 19, 2010

Day of Spirit

“Katie, Katie, Katie!”

I believe God is looking down on this team tonight as we prepare for bed and saying, “Well done. You have served me well today.” It was a day filled with experiences we won’t soon forget. And, it is just beginning.

Drew and Whitney - Small Group

Group and Map

We were welcomed to a primary school by the principal and his staff, a first time event of this kind in this particular school. Back to back PE classes came to the outdoor court for basketball and lots of fun, then sat quietly as we talked to them about our relationship with Jesus Christ and how they, too, can have that same relationship in their lives. These kids were 8, 9 and 10 years old. Keaton, Mick, Drew, Cacy, Whitney and Rachel took the lead today. I can already tell that Adam, Brandon, Tristan and Haley are busting at the seams to take their stand tomorrow and share their faith. We are scheduled in this school for two more days, eventually sharing with every child enrolled. It is interesting how kids from a school next door just seemed to “show up” to watch and interact with the Americans.

Betty and Katy

Katy - Basketball shot

Katie is eight years old and came limping onto the court leaning on her special made walker. She is a tiny little girl with spina bifida. A special education teacher is assigned to be with her each day. The other children were getting in line for relays and there sat Katie all alone. I immediately went to her, got her up, and said, “Katie, this is for you too. Let’s go play basketball.” Well, there is no way to tell you how Katie’s presence in line blessed all of us and inspired all her classmates. She did everything all the others did, except with some help from our team. Her smile said it all. We all chanted “Katie, Katie, Katie.” Her teacher said, “She has never been included in PE classes and loved as she has today. We have her on video and I want the world to see our “Katie”. I prayed with Katie and her teacher before they went back to the classroom, thanking God for this precious child and the gift of her presence with us for one hour today.

Continue reading "Day of Spirit" ...

May 18, 2010

First Night in Malta

We arrived to Malta this afternoon safe and sound. Thank each of you for your prayers. When we arrived to the Hotel, we had a quick orientation with Earl and Colleen. As soon as the orientation was completed we all checked in and got some rest before dinner.

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After a couple of hours of rest the team gathered together to do eat dinner. We found a place located not to far from the hotel off of the ocean. The team is now in their rooms resting for a good day of service tomorrow.

On the way to dinner

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Malta 2010 - Belmont University - Sports evangelism Team A quick note from Debbie arrived just a few minutes ago to let everyone know that all is well and that everyone is checking into the hotel in Malta (click image for enlarged group picture).

Please note: Posting times for stories will match the time zone in Malta and may look a little strange to those of us in the U.S.

May 17, 2010

"Where in the World are You Going, Betty?"

Betty Wiseman, leader of the 2010 Sports Evangelism Team from Belmont University talks a little about this year's trip just prior to departure from Nashville International Airport.

May 07, 2010

Romans 15:5 – “A Spirit of Unity”

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 15:5

Betty WisemanI shared this verse of scripture with our team as we gathered at my house on Wednesday evening for a meal, distribution of equipment/uniforms to pack, and our final team devotional/commitment time before departure on May 17. Team members are now busy taking final exams and completing their academic work for the semester.

We can already observe how God has begun this “spirit of unity” within this team. It feels like we’ve been on a mission already since our first team meeting in early February. I reminded the team that this is “not about us” but about the One who has called us to go and serve. We must be unified in the call and the purpose for which we have been called. Everything we do and say must be with one heart and voice to the glory of God. I challenged us to set aside anything that would hinder us from being totally and completely unified in Christ Jesus.

Listening to each member of the team verbalize a prayer in a time of commitment blessed me to the core. I believe we are ready!

April 26, 2010

Team Malta Update

Belmont University - Sports Evangelism Team 2010 - MaltaMeet this year's team (click image to view larger size). For printing purposes, a PDF version is available via the "Meet the Team" link in the left-hand column of the blog.

Three weeks from today, the team departs for Malta. Closing out another semester and taking care of last minute preparation requires a lot of effort by the entire team. Please keep us in your prayers as the details of the trip are completed.

Over 100 people have already signed up to receive email notifications during this trip. If you would like to receive an email reminder when new stories are posted, please use the Free Email Alerts button on the home page of the blog (or click here). If at anytime you wish to be removed from that list, simply respond to any email notification with the word "Remove" in the subject line.

April 20, 2010

Partner with Us in Prayer

Betty WisemanSports evangelism trips do not happen without the prayer support of our families and friends. I am grateful and encouraged every year by those who take time to make our trips a matter of prayer. This printable Prayer list (PDF) is the focus for our trip preparation this year. Thank you, in advance, for your support.

As you pray for us you become a vital member of our team!

April 13, 2010

The Priviledge of Walking in Paul’s Footsteps

“Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The Islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”
- Acts 28: 1-2

The thought of being on the island of Malta where Paul was shipwrecked for three months on his way to Rome is reason enough to be excited about this mission trip! I never tire of reading about Paul’s conversion experience and his subsequent passion and boldness for sharing the gospel. He is the model for evangelism. I think even he would be intrigued today by the use of sports as a platform for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ! And, we might just have the privilege of walking in Paul’s footsteps. Wow!


Betty Wiseman Yes, I am counting the days until we leave for our annual sports evangelism mission trip on May 17 to work with IMB career missionaries, Earl and Robin Pinkston. The team has been called, tickets and passports are in hand, prayer partners in place, finances in order, and regular meetings for preparation are on-going. Team members will wrap up classes in a couple of weeks and prepare for final exams. The next four weeks will pass quickly and we’ll be on our way!

- Betty Wiseman

Belmont University

About this Trip

The annual Sports Evangelism Mission Trip is scheduled for May 18-27, 2010 in Malta, the largest island of the Maltese archipelago located 58 miles south of Sicily.

Meet the Team (PDF 138K)


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