ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE 11/13-11/24/18

The flight from New Orleans is 2 1/2 hours. It was a bit bumpy but thankfully my system was working such that I only had to get up once. Thank the Lord.

Traveling from New Orleans to get to Israel has its own challenges. Delta to begin with can be quite challenging. New rules. Old ways. Someone is having a bad day and they are determined to share it. A smile goes a long way.

These days every trip has its own pain. It’s amazing how our bodies can come up with new aches and pains. This trip my right knee seems to be the injured party. Yikes. As much of a miracle flying is it’s never joyous in process. I’m glad we forget the difficult quickly.

Tomorrow night we will land at Ben Gurion, get our van and motor over to Jaffa where we will spend the night.

We have 8 hours at JFK. We are at hour 3. Yay.

I’m amazed at how difficult simple disciplines can be. I work hard at maintaining a daily prayer time, Bible Study and a quiet time. I do good for a month then change happens, travel, work and a host of other things that get us out of our routine and it is hard to get back in that marvelous routine.

Growing up I hated routines. When we first began vacationing I always wanted to make sure we didn’t keep a strict routine. Today I value routine. It is encouraging and heart warming. I love routine especially my routine.

This is my first Israel trip since January. I’ve really missed Israel. It does get in your blood. It’s the touching and seeing the Biblical sites and the aha moments that happen on the road. It’s good.

Jaffa has elements of settlement that date back 5,000 years. In 1909 some folks that lived in Jaffa moved out to the sand dunes making the first suburb of Jaffa. Jaffa is heavily populated and overrun with people. It’s tiny streets and dark alleys make it a challenging place to visit. But we will.

I believe that every preacher should visit Israel. The land makes an impact on the reader of the Bible. The compactness of this place the Lord focuses on is so different than western minds think. It is a place where the Holy acted out in human form his salvation work for us. When we were dead in our sin Christ died for us. This is an amazing thing. Praise the Lord who always does good towards us.

Walking the land, seeing Biblical sites, reading your Bible where the event took place all combine to help you see, better hear and serve the Lord. Praying the Lord God becomes an act the is congruent with your experience in the Holy Land.

One day you must come if you haven’t. But for now travel with us in pictures and reports about our day.


On the Plane-ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE 11/13-11/14/18

Plane trips are never easy especially from the amalgamation of people riding together for 10 hours. The groups going to Israel always seem a bit restless to me. A lot of people walking the aisles and chatting the whole trip. I don’t sleep well on the journey but I noticed that when dinner was through and things were kind of settling down the time said 8 hours to Tel Aviv and I just roused and saw that it was 2 1/2 hours to Tel Aviv. Good rest this trip.
I like to watch the moving map when traveling across the Atlantic. It’s constructive to look at the map detail and see where we have been and where we are going. Carol and I just journeyed through the heart of Europe on the Danube, Main and Rhine. It was a joy. Tonight we flew across London and literally followed the Rhine across to Frankfurt then south across Munich and now across Greece and down toward Tel Aviv. Crossing over Zagreb now. We have flown the northern boundaries of the Roman Empire.
The Romans were great builders and one of their really great things was road building throughout their empire. They meant it for control of their kingdom. The Lord used it to build His Kingdom. Paul traveled the Roman roads sharing the Gospel-Spreading the Word. The Pax Romana was another part of this birth of our faith.
Today we are overwhelmed by hysteria, hate, saber rattling, catastrophes, horrible death dealing diseases and in much of the world a malaise that stagnates hearts and minds. This is not something that surprises the Lord. HE IS ABLE.
I’m confident in Him. Throughout history we see the Lord bursting out when things are the worst. He is at work today all around our world. The joy of the Lord is not dictated by circumstances but is provided to us by His faithfulness. Jesus loves me and you.
I’m reading the Ten Commandments. I am thinking about them this journey and have a couple of observations. First I think that the Ten Commandments were actually written by the hand of God. Not just once but twice. It is a definition of His holiness, and righteousness. He always acts like this. He has written out for us His rules- God’s rights, family rights and Man’s rights. And then in Jesus Christ a Holy God makes provision for sinful mankind to be given perfection by the work of Christ in leading a Holy Life, a Holy Death and a Holy Payment that provides forgiveness for each one of us while we are dead in our trespasses and sin. We are so blessed. Praise the Lord for His blessings and peace.
I am positive about our condition. I’ve watched Melvin Jones for 25 years and he has taught me to minister to the needy and helpless. On this journey we have four men with us that certainly could be described as needy and helpless once upon a time. Today they have been saved by Jesus, built up in the faith and are four of the finest men you would ever want to know. They Jesus and they love people. They have journeyed from helpless to helpers. I’m so proud to know them, to call them brothers in Christ and to spend time with them. Thank you Lord for friends like this. Thank you Lord for Melvin Jones.
Our long time guide in Israel, Gilla will be leading Mel’s group. We are staying at the same places but each day we will have different agendas. There are quite a few sites that we don’t visit with large groups, not enough time, and we will be visiting those. I will recount our daily activities as much as I can.
Think about the Ten Commandments. We are truly blessed to be able to read them and study them and see the way our Father has provided for us His children.
We are 2 hours to Tel Aviv.
About 1,160 miles. Our ground speed is 589 mph.
We got here and maneuvered through the airport. Getting a rental is an ordeal but we got it and are headed for our hotel in Jaffa.

Thursday. 11/15/18

Y’all are asleep. We are on the road from Tel Aviv fo Caesarea. The traffic is like NY City. It took us o
1 hour to get out of Tel Aviv.
Our guesthouse, Beit Immanuel, is a Christian community, old American Colony on Jaffa, was very basic, but clean and comfortable. It was my first time there. Remember basic.
Breakfast was excellent.

Last night we had dinner at Old Man and the Sea right on the Med. We got there weaving thru the tiny streets of Jaffa. Jim and Mel. Both did a good job driving there. The meal was stupendous. When they brought the menu we were already filled with salads. The guys thought the salads were the meal. It was good.

On to Caesarea for our first stop.

The guys started at the Crusader Fortress. We drove down to the Theater to wait for them. Taking Pictures of the Theater. Just a few years before my first Israel trip in 1983, they discovered the Roman Theater at Caesarea. I think Dr Price came for one of his early trips just as they unearthed the Roman Theater.

I’m reading Hebrews 12 this morning- Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

One thing that some day encourages works righteousness. That isn’t what this is saying. Our righteousness IS in Jesus- our call is that when we grow in Christlikeness we will act like this. As I submit my human nature to the hand of God I will so change that I will treat people like Jesus treats them.
Our organized religious groups have a long way to go. Too many churches have become bastions of the smug instead of emergency rooms for the hurting and unruly. Dear Lord deliver us from our starched neck smugness and let us don the work clothes of a servant. Jesus help is to go to the masses- they will know us by our love for one another.

Heb 12:22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering.

Heb 12:28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.

We worship you Jesus
You are our righteousness
Peace and faithfulness our way
Confidence and joy our heart
Let us claim the rights of a servant
Ministering our due
Knowing Jesus more each day

I believe Lord
Change is upon me
I believe Lord
Forgiveness my forte
I believe Lord
Loving more each day
Prayer times of righteousness
A heartbeat of hope
Believing You are the way
You are the truth
You are life
I believe Lord

Activities of passion
To show the Godly way
Strength of surrender
Jesus holds sway

Christ is the victor
My life an open book
Discouragement discarded
Help extended to the hurting
Living more for Jesus every day

His victory my life
My faith imparts His strength
His hand upholding me
Prayers for all
No longer rulers
One with Jesus
He is my righteousness

Clay Corvin at Caesarea

In Psalm 72 there is a call to let the poor be treated fairly always. That is a call to each one of us to be mindful of the poor, of their needs and the responsibility we have to care for the poor. It is a personal responsibility, it is a community responsibility and it is a “wealth “ responsibility. I need to recognize poverty and provide for those impoverished.
That’s one of many things that Mel teaches our men and women at Bethel Community. Our people feel a burden for the poor and they da things everyday to help the poor. Thank you Mel for building that teaching in me.

Excellent day. When we left Caesarea we traveled to Mt. Carmel to the location where Elijah slew the prophets of Baal and then over to Sepphoris National Park an ancient Roman City with amazing mosaics. We visited with Metal the site director and saw the additional archaeological dig work.

We made a stop at Tamar Bakfar, dried fruits, nuts, tea, and etc. for a few things to have on the continuation of our pilgrimage. Nice folks.

We are at Beit Bracha Guest House in Migdalia for four nights. Beautiful location overlooking the Sea of Galilee and directly at Mt. Arbel.

Extremely nice weather with a few sprinkles here and there.


FRIDAY. 11/16/18

It’s almost 5pm in the Galilee. Our boat ride on the Sea Of Galilee has been rescheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm. That will be a busy day as we will spend much of the day in the Golan. The weather is extremely windy and constant rain. I’m sitting on our balcony observing. A little chilly.
Israel is in the 5th year of a drought and the Sea of Galilee is 5ft. lower than it should be. The rain is welcome relief for the country but makes it difficult to tour. Part of our group has gone to Mt Tabor after the morning at Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee.
We spent the morning at Tel Hazor and Dr Parker guided us through the site.

They are grading the site for walkways, etc. so we had to walk carefully around the site. Hazor is the largest Tel in Israel at 200 plus acres. Only a small part of the site has been dug with much left for future archaeologists.

We also visited the Mt of Beatitudes.

It was lunchtime and we visited our first Aroma Espresso Bar.

We had coffee, Ice Aromas, salad, soup and sandwiches.
Excellent. Especially the coffee.

We were near Kiryat Shmona which we will visit again on Sunday possibly. We really enjoy the drive up from the Galilee. Beautiful countryside and an enjoyable ride back down to Migdal. Dr Parker drove especially carefully as there was a speed trap we had noticed on the trip north.

As I look at the Sea of Galilee where a lot of Jesus’ ministry took place I’m am impressed by how much hurting people were important to Jesus. The stories he includes in the New Testament indicate His concern with hurting and troubled people. He also speaks of how important all people are to Him. My question for myself is how important are hurting people to me? My tendency is to get so overwhelmed in my own chaos that I forget the great needs of those around me. People count with Jesus. My prayer is that people will count with me.

Help me Lord to be useable and useful in your kingdom. Don’t let me get segregated by my own pain or difficulty. Show me how caring for others often brings order and peace to my own chaos.

Psalm 80:19Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.         Make your face shine down upon us.         Only then will we be saved.

What schemes of wit and wise
I use to disguise
The simple fact-I ache and fear
All things near
They Dispute my peace
Lord deliver me from this mire

I still look forward to being an adult
Where things make sense
The future rosy
Life cozy
And problems solve themself

But I do not know the answer
To the question of the day
I think, I pray
Sometimes pain goes away
Mostly desperation is held at bay
As I whistle thru the graveyard

I am saved-this is a fact
I have access to Almighty God
He loves me
He cares about my life
He has a plan He wants me to have
The Lord never hides this
Thank you Father
I receive

His Word
Direct me, affect me
Give me wisdom from Him
Christ is with me
He knows me
Better than I know me
I can trust Him

He is my fortress
He is my strength
Jesus is Lord of my soul
Focus brings peace
Answers aren’t as important
As often I think
Jesus solves the world’s chaos
He knows, He acts, He gives peace

I don’t know the future
I do know Jesus
I am eternally His
He says my future is safe
I trust Him
I claim His joy
I surrender Lord
You are the adult
I am your child

Clay Corvin
Joyously overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Tonight we have been invited to the home of Mehtal who is the Sepphoris National Park site director. Her husband is one of the sub-chiefs of police in Nazareth. We are grateful and excited about this opportunity. Dr Parker is amazing. His connections in Israel are something. I am looking forward to the visit and a new friend.


PS 91: 1Those who live in the shelter of the Most High         will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Saturday, We visited two places we don’t normally visit.
In the morning we drove to Bethsaida. This is one of the towns Jesus cursed.
The University of Nebraska of Omaha was the lead on this archaeological dig. They’ve done a great of developing the site. Dr Parker took us thru the site step by step sharing about the discoveries and developing our understanding of the ancient city.
Luke 10:13
“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.

We also visited Capernaum-the White Synagogue, Peter’s house and the other site activities.
The heavy rain curtailed our activities. We were worn out so it was a good stop!

Our morning on the Golan. We had a great time with ILan Shulman. He took us off-roading thru the southern part of the Golan and to the border. We visited a new bunker and he discussed the new realities of accommodation in the Middle East. Quite eye opening.
We had lunch at the Cowboy Cafe and then drove across the Golan and down to the Sea of Galilee.
Susita (Hippos) was our next adventure. This is a 26 acre hilltop town. They also commanded a seaside village and a fishing port on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is 13 miles long and 7 miles across. Susita is on the eastern shore towards the South.
They have excavated Roman and Christian sites in the dig with much of it being Roman era. It’s a bit of a climb to get to the top. We completed our tour about 3pm and we met the Bethel group at the Lido for a 4pm excursion in the replica of a fishing boat from the time of Jesus. It will hold 14 so we filled it up. Excellent time on the Sea of Galilee.
Dinner was at the Aroma in Migdal. Great minestrone soup and small salad with a lot of very cold decaf coffee.

Our time in Israel is over half done. It passes too fast.
Today is our transition to Jerusalem.
Good breakfast conversation with a Wycliffe Bible Translator from Australia. He had worked with a Papua New Guinea tribe in translating the New Testament. It was a real blessing to listen to him.
Last stop in the Galilee for coffee then on the road.
We stopped at Belvoir, a Crusader Fortress overlooking the Jordan Valley. It is formidable and fun to walk thru.
Then the two hour drive down the Jordan Valley to Bethabara-where John was baptizing, where Joshua crosses into the promised land, Elijah translated to heaven, Naaman directed to wash to clean up his leprosy and churches dating to very early 300’s. They’ve done work in one of the graveyards and discovered all of the people had leprosy so this was considered a place of healing and possibly the location of a community of lepers. I love this site. So much happened right here. The Bethel group had a baptism and pastor Mel baptized them.
They headed south to Masada and we headed to Jerusalem. We had business to do this afternoon.

This has been a particularly good spiritual journey for me. I’m really looking forward to our group.

Because of the cost of the trips and our need to fund seminarians for this pilgrimage we are always looking to save money. We began many years ago with 12 day trips. Then a few years ago as the price escalated we went to 10 day trips. Now we are looking at next year doing a 9 day trip. That was primarily what I’m working with. What sites are most important? How do we accomplish a good Biblical review? Please pray with us as we struggle with all of these very real issues.

Clay Corvin


Faith alone comforts me
I hear the Lord
I see I’m free
Now my love
To Him I give
This day I live in Christ

Faith alone is all I have
To do and say my master’s way
I listen and live like Jesus
He cares for people
I care for people
Growing, becoming more like Jesus

Faith alone is the path I walk
I believe, I love, I am
Free, called, anointed
Christ in me, sharing God’s Word
People see how much I care
Before God’s Word penetrates

Now by faith we see
One day soon face to face
No longer bonded by faith
Holding Christ’s hand
Hearing and seeing the Lord
I will know His love by sight
Faith was a friend
Bonding me to Him
Jesus is the Lord of me

Clay Corvin
Kokhav har Yadin


I will praise the Lord
With every breath I take
As unto heaven my joy I wake
Praise Almighty God
Praise Him-Praise the Lord

I will praise the Lord with singing
Joy in the morning
Quietly under my breath
His goodness forever
Jesus is my life
Praise the Lord

I will praise the Lord with my life
Looking at others with love
Honoring them as I honor Christ
Everyone is having a hard time
Be their healer, the one God uses
Lord I will praise you

I will praise my Lord
Telling one and all
About a Savior who came from glory
His love for each one
Whoever that might be
Jesus is the Christ
Who sets us free
Lord I will praise you

I will praise the Lord
King of kings
Perfect in every way
He is my strength
He loves me
Life is hard
I will stand before Him one day
Praise the Lord my king

I will praise the Lord
And live my life
Joy in good and bad
The world is imperfection
Jesus perfection
Praise the name of the Lord

I will praise the Lord
In holiness wrapped
Morning, the moment and night
Rings my heart with His Word
O Lord guide my path
Holiness and your Word
Praise the actions of the Lord
Praise ye the Lord

I will praise the Lord
With my offerings
Tithe and total
Everything I am I bring
He is worthy I sing
Praise our Holy God
Jesus is Lord
Jesus is Lord of me

Clay Corvin 11/20/18
On the road to Beersheva

TUESDAY -11/20/18

Early morning departure from the Dan Panorama heading south to Beersheva. Traffic huge. GPS routed us to 6 South. We will have a quick stop at Latrun. Gilla is with Bethel Community in the Old City all day.

So much to see in the Negev. Our first stop is Abraham’s well at Beersheva. The Lord told Abraham that this place of NOWHERE would be the place God blesses him and He did. Next time you wind up nowhere because the Lord told you to go there remember the Lord is your provision and He will bless you.

We watched a herd of about 70-80 camels. They cost about $15,000 each so we were looking at a lot of money. They were moving in the Wadi by Beersheva.

Ben-Gurion’s home in the desert at Sde Boker. The major architect of the modern nation of Israel. A really down to earth man. He said upon resigning that those that wanted to remember him would and those who didn’t want to remember him wouldn’t.

We continued on down into the wilderness of Zin and visited Tel Avdat. Jim guided us thru the site. We saw the wine press, the caravansari, the church from Byzantine era and the immersion baptismal. The view from the top is beautiful.

Our next stop would be Shivta. Another of the Desert Cities along with Tel Avdat. Dr. Tsvika Tsuk led us thru the site. It has three churches, many cisterns, a mosque, and in the Northern Church a picture of Jesus from the 5th-6th century.

It’s been a very long day and we’ve had a good visit to the Negev. Ben Gurion.

We are working hard this trip on how to economize for future groups. We’ve come up with a couple of ideas that will benefit our students. My prayer is that every student that attends NOBTS will visit Israel. It turns black and white pages to color and it lifts the ink off the page of the Bible and makes it come alive.

WEDNESDAY – 11/21/18

Today was a full day in the Old City of Jerusalem. We are moving slow as the desert journey yesterday wore me out so we began about 9am with coffee at Aroma and contemplated our campaign on seeing the Old City. We would walk over much of the city.
We traveled from Aroma to Latin Patriarchate Road and walked it all the way around and after several turns and switchbacks wound up at Shaban’s (Amir) Ali Baba store. We had mint tea and visited with Shaban and Omar.
Next we walked from Christian Quarter Road, to the Damascus Gate and out of the Old City up to the Garden Tomb. We visited with Mohamed and Machmood Ahmed and lined up a place to park on Friday afternoon at the Garden Tomb and spent about 30 minutes in the Garden Tomb praying. I love this place.
We met Gilla and Bethel Group at Nafoura over by the Jaffa Gate for lunch. They have a very good vegetable salad lunch.
We all went our separate ways after lunch. I went to see Moshe and Dov Kempinski at Shorashim in the Jewish Quarter and then down to the Western Wall.
I got back to our hotel room about 4:15 and crashed for about an hour before dinner at 6:30.
About 11,000 steps in the Old City.

Thursday is supposed to be a rain day. I don’t mind the rain so much but the wet stone is slicky slicky.


THURSDAY -11/22/18

The end of our pilgrimage comes too quickly and yet it’s time. I don’t travel as well as I once did. I love the travel in my mind and body betrays me. Yesterday after 2 – 12,000 step days I was worn OUT. I went to bed last night at 10:15 and slept till 7 this morning. Anyway I’m not complaining just the facts. I always enjoy staying at the Dan Panorama because the rooms are very comfortable.

We didn’t get started until 9am today. Our agenda was light as the last two days have been really active. We went to Haas Promenade on the Hill of Evil Counsel which is the place where Abraham saw Moriah where he was supposed to sacrifice Isaac. The rabbinic writings said that Abraham was so faithful that the Lord didn’t stay Abraham’s hand until the knife was moving towards Isaac’s heart and the Word of God stayed his hand. That’s really something.
Haas Promenade is a beautiful overlook of the city of Jerusalem. The air was clear and we got some great pictures.
The British first locates their headquarters here and now the U.N. occupies this location on the Hill of Evil Counsel.
On the Hill of Evil Counsel is the location of the field of blood that Judas purchased with the 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus.
This location was where Absalom began his rebellion against David. (2 Sam 15-18) and ended his rebellion in the peace forest on the Hill of Evil Counsel stabbed 3 times by Joab. Ahitophel’s final words before he killed himself were “never side against the royal Davidic family and take no part in dissensions.”
So you can see just a few of the historical events that took place here. It is always a stirring event to me to visit the “Hill of Evil Counsel.”

Jim turned down into the Hinnom Valley next as we headed towards the Mount of Olives. We traveled down into the Hinnom Valley, across it and thru Silwan and up the hill. We passed the Pool of Siloam and could look into it as we waited for the one lane road to clear. Then Jim sped up thru the City of David excavations and came out near the Southern Steps of the Old City and then around the Old City and across Wadi Joz and up the side of the Mount of Olives to the Overlook of Jerusalem. Amazing feat of driving as we weaved between busses, cars, trucks and vans with sporadic insertion of people jaywalking and motor scooters suddenly appearing. Jim did a great job. It was crowded but we got there, took pictures and departed. It wasn’t that simple but that is indeed what happened.
We left the Mount of Olives and returned to the Old City, Mount Zion where we left Jim and went into the Jewish Quarter. Jim went around to the Mamilla by Jaffa Gate and parked. He had to visit with Shabon, our money changer and then he met us in the Jewish Quarter for lunch at the Quarter Cafe, one of my favorite places to eat in the Old City.
We visited with Moshe and Dov and then met with Jim for lunch.
End of today. It was about 2:15. Jim and I went back to the hotel. I took a 30 minute and then read and relaxed. Jim worked and left about 5 for a meeting in Tel Aviv with our partners on the Tel Hadid dig at Tel Aviv University. Thankfully I passed on the meeting as it will be late when Jim gets back tonight.


Today we had rain in Israel. Also it rained heavily on Friday night. They really need the rain so we were fine with it.
We had an ambitious schedule today. We left the hotel at 8:30am and headed to Bet Shemish-Samson and Delilah Country. As we got there we went immediately to the Aroma then continued our journey to the archaeological site. It is huge and they have discovered much about the period of Samson. The dig was forced by the highway work and as a result many things have been discovered that otherwise wouldn’t have been.
Next was the Elah Valley-David and Goliath-we also looked at and discussed Tel Qeyafa where Saul probably was and watched David slay Goliath.
Our next stop further down the highway was Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park. This is the location of the Bell Caves that were dug by the Romans. They dug the chalk out to use for making plaster. Huge man made caves.
Tel Lachish was our next stop. This huge Tel is located on the highway to Egypt and was destroyed by the Assyrians in 701 BC and again in 688 BC. It is mentioned in the Armana letters and later attacked and overrun by the Babylonians. It was totally abandoned in 587 BC.

We returned to Jerusalem thru the tunnels and had lunch at Cinema City and returned to the hotel.

Gilla and Neil has dinner with us. Very good day.

Today we pack and return home. We will get back to New Orleans
About 11am Sunday morning.

But first we walked the Old City with our friend Ibrahim. He met us at the Jaffa Gate and we traveled thru the back streets around to the Damascus Gate. Along the way we stopped and had sweets at a special shop in the Moslem Quarter and then coffee at a little shop overlooking Damascus Gate. I was thinking of relaxing today but 6,000 steps later we had finished and returned to the hotel. Now we will pack and go to the airport and return home.

Our pilgrimage has been more than I expected. The people we met, the roads we traveled, the sites we explored and the business we completed were beyond expectations. It has been a good journey.

A friend shared with me that if you give to your work your love you make of it an art.

I agree with that and one more statement:
Simply to be alive is a great joy.

We are at the gate at the airport waiting on the plane. We cleared security and immigration smoothly and now we have and 11 hour flight to JFK and 3 hours to New Orleans.

Thank you Lord for the journey

Clay Corvin

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