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Music with a message: Right Choice Ministries expands outreach to accommodate bands

January 06, 2012|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE | crystal.schelle@herald-mail.com
  • Winston and Susan Herbst provide indoor and outdoor venues for Christian musicians at their Old Forge Road farm. They provide a drug- and alcohol-free environment for area teens.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer




For years, every time Winston and Susan Herbst would pass by an abandoned building in Hagerstown, they could only see the potential.

"We'd say, 'That would make a good youth center,'" Winston said during a telephone interview.

The Herbsts, who had spent nearly 30 years as youth directors at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, wanted a place where tweens to young adults could come, hang out in a drug- and alcohol-free environment, be safe and be surrounded by basic Christian values.

But it would take a broken ankle before Winston and Susan realized that the space they needed was right under their noses — their own farm.

Right Choice Ministries, founded seven years ago, is located on the Herbsts' nearly 200-acre working farm off Old Forge Road in Hagerstown.

Winston said they had thought for years to build a Christian youth center, but life was getting in the way. "We would never pursue it," he said. "We were busy raising a family and I had the farm and I had three jobs at one time."

Then in May 2002, Winston broke his ankle.

"I was sitting here and we had the youth on a Saturday night, and they were out in the shed skateboarding and playing basketball down in the barn," he said. "I looked at my wife and said, 'I don't farm, and the buildings are empty. Here is the youth center.'"

He said he believed there might have been a little spiritual intervention in getting him to stay in one spot.

"I think the Lord broke my ankle and gave me the time," he said.

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