Michael and Holly Cooley
Michael and Holly met at Liberty University, where Michael received a B.S. in Business Administration and Government, and Holly studied Sign Language. Both were blessed to grow up in Christian homes, and made personal decisions for Christ as children.
With Holly’s constant support, Michael followed successful careers in Executive Management and Finance, settling in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, while they raised and homeschooled two sons, who are now grown, with families and successful paths of their own.
In 2015 Michael was led to pursue full time a long-term interest in Agricultural Development. Leaving a successful career in Finance behind, he undertook and received a M.Sc. in Natural Resources/Agroforestry from the University of Missouri.
After teaching the Permaculture Design Certificate course at a local college in the fall of 2018, Michael attended a program in Tropical Agriculture Development at Echo Global Farm, Ft. Meyers FL. There he met Rick Renninger, ELI Sierra Leone Partnership Coordinator. Through providential connections, Rick asked Michael to act as agricultural director for the ELI work in Sierra Leone, where, as in many instances, the local ministry has little in the way of finances, but had access to land. Michael is honored to be bringing improved agriculture in Jesus’ name worldwide through his work at ELI.
Michael appreciates working with smallholder farmers, on land which is often degraded. Along with the assets and knowledge of local agriculturists, Michael finds reward in designing the land into a financially productive property that supports the ministry, and brings benefit to local livelihoods and nutrition, which can be seriously lacking.