Baltimore County couple transports agricultural know-how from Epworth UMC to Liberia
By Melissa Whatley
Baltimore Sun Media|
Sep 01, 2020 at 6:30 AM
For the past four years, Anna and Nathan Glenn have served as missionaries in Liberia, West Africa, working with an organization called Hope in the Harvest, whose vision is to see both agricultural and spiritual transformation throughout Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world.
While living and working more than 4,000 miles from home, the Glenns have been supported by Epworth United Methodist Church in Cockeysville, and they come back each year to share an update on their mission.
On a recent weekend, Epworth UMC welcomed Anna and Nathan back to the church for an event called “Prayer Walk: Farming and Faith in Liberia.”
Outdoors and socially distant, visitors were able to move from station to station to learn about the culture, people and food of Liberia, to showcase some of the agricultural projects and highlights of the Glenns’ past year.
The connection between Epworth and Anna (formerly McGucken) runs deep. Anna has been a member at Epworth ever since she started out at the Epworth Children’s Daycare Center.
It was through her involvement at Epworth, particularly the youth group, that her faith grew to be her own, and it was through participating in various mission trips with the church that her love for missions developed.
Anna also loved animals and gardening and was an active 4-H member. Nathan grew up on a farm in Howard County, and he, like Anna, was actively involved with his local 4-H chapter.
They met while both pursuing animal science degrees at the University of Maryland, and after they married, they moved to Liberia in 2016 as volunteers for AgriCorps to serve as agricultural teachers. After a year, they decided to continue their efforts in Liberia and have been working with Hope in the Harvest ever since.
Together, they work and teach at Liberia International Christian College (LICC) in Ganta, Liberia, where Anna is the dean of agriculture, teaching classes, organizing curriculum, training teachers and conducting outreach.
Nathan is an agricultural instructor and the student activities coordinator, as well as playing a key role in the research and development aspects of the demonstration farm, especially in the areas of poultry and swine.
These services are desperately needed in Liberia, which despite having some of the richest farmland in the world, has suffered through more than 25 years of civil war, resulting in more than 300,000 dead and the loss of several generations of farming knowledge and expertise.
Anna and Nathan have taken on several special projects while working at the LICC; those efforts are as varied as Nathan working to improve the local chicken feed and Anna helping a group of students to develop and bring to market a chocolate bar made from Liberaria-grown and processed cocoa beans. The chocolate bar, named Redimere, will be on store shelves in the capital city of Monrovia soon.
They also work with the University of Maryland through a virtual classroom that allows students from different cultures to interact and brainstorm about how to address the challenges in the agricultural world.
Unfortunately, the global pandemic has affected their programs, and while Anna and Nathan are home for their usual summer visit, their return is not yet scheduled.
Like many others, they continue to work on projects from afar. As Anna noted, ’This ministry is not something that belongs to us or something that we consider ’ours.’
“Our partners who pray for this work, support this work financially and encourage us as individuals are an essential part of this ministry, and we are grateful and humbled by their love and commitment to seeing this ministry grow. And we pray that it is impacting them as much as it is impacting us and those that we have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis.”