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Minister reaching out to Third World nations

March 19, 1998

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Eugene Strite's second-floor office at L&S Stone, Inc. looks out on the rural landscape of U.S. 11 north of Greencastle.

Strite, 44, lives comfortably off the profits from the 90-employee factory, where decorative landscape and building stones are manufactured. He could spend more of his spare time and energy pursuing his hobbies of big game hunting and golf.

Instead, Strite, 44, an ordained minister, travels up to three times a year to Third World nations to preach and do good works. He is accompanied on these trips by volunteers from a cadre of about 50 area residents.

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In 1994, he and his wife, Karen, established Sent Forth Ministries International, Inc., from his home on Tallow Hill Road in Chambersburg, Pa.

Since then, Strite and his volunteers have traveled to more than 10 countries, including some in Africa, plus Nicaragua, Guatemala and the Caribbean, where they preached and helped build or repair churches and hospitals.

Strite's missionaries made four trips last year and last week he returned from Haiti.

The volunteers raise their own money for expenses.

"Some get money from their churches," Strite said.

A journey to Africa can cost $2,500 or more per person. Trips to Central America and the Caribbean cost about half that much. An average stay is two to three weeks, he said.

Strite, a Chambersburg native, started his foreign missionary work in 1989 with a group from Martinsville, Va., called Teamwork Ministries.

Strite established the World Harvest Outreach church in July. Members meet each week at Shalom Christian Academy in Chambersburg.

Strite has his eye on a building in Chambersburg and envisions his church, with 100 active members now, will grow to more than 500 once it has its own building.

At that point, the church will need its own minister, he said. Meanwhile he's filling the role.

His goal for the church is to train missionaries to go into the local community, as well as to large cities and foreign countries, to do the work for Sent Forth Ministries, which will be an arm of the church, he said.

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