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Pastor and church planter Henry Karsten had a huge heart for evangelism and wanted others to know the Jesus he loved. Karsten died April 26 in Visalia, Calif.

Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., Karsten graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and then worked several jobs before experiencing the call to ministry. After graduating from Calvin College (now University) and Seminary, he was ordained in 1958 and began serving New Hope Fellowship in Monroe, Wash.

Four-and-a-half years later, Karsten was called by Christian Reformed Church Home Missions (now Resonate Global Mission) to be a church planter in Akron, Ohio. He engaged the talents of young people through Summer Workshop in Missions (SWIM), which God used to help the church grow and become organized. During this time he also oversaw the church building program. Ten years later he was asked to plant a church (Crossroads City Church) in Jacksonville, Fla. “The first service was in our living room,” recalled one of his children. God blessed this ministry with church growth and another successful building program. Karsten then moved on to pastor Alger Community CRC near Bellingham, Wash., and Bethel CRC in Sun Valley, Calif. 

After developing some health issues, Karsten retired in 1995 and remained in California. His retirement years included volunteering with CRC World Missions (now Resonate Global Mission) in five different countries. Having lost his son to cancer, he also gave significant time as a chaplain to various cancer support groups.

Karsten is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 66 years; three children and their spouses; a daughter-in-law; 13 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased in 1989 by son Mark, next to whom he is buried in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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