Meet Our Residents
Meet our residents and learn how you can help provide the resources to support this unique program. The Residency in Mission (RIM) is an immersive mission and evangelism experience designed for young adults who are called to serve beyond their home country in partnership with ministries in the Methodist Wesleyan family. RIM is a 9-12 month commitment that includes guided mentorship from mission and evangelism leadership experts.
Eliza Edge: August 2019 – July 2020
I was born and raised in South Carolina by a music director who doubled as a middle school teacher and a telephone company man. My parents are up and down salt of the earth types and that is how I was preached to be from day 1. I was taught to be in church every time the doors open, to tithe, to pray in every spare moment, to not let the sun set on my frustrations, and most of all to believe. For this, I am incredibly blessed for my earthly parents gave me no reason to doubt that our heavenly father is good and loving and trustworthy. My parents’ faith did not, however, guarantee my own; being the fiercely independent soul I am, I had to find Jesus myself.
In terms of occupation, I am a french horn player. I started playing when I was 11 and decided my profession when I was 14. For this reason, I chose, with my parents’ consent, to go to a residential arts high school 4 hours from home when I was a junior(16 years old). This is where our story truly begins. Before, I did as my parents told me and tried to be good to other people, but every move I made was for myself and to have others look upon me with adoration. Upon moving out, I was faced with the power to make my own decisions and to allot my time to the tasks of my choosing. This meant, for the first time in my life, church was optional. With this newfound freedom, I did as I wanted when I wanted. I still went to church most of the time out of habit, but that was mostly so my mom wouldn’t guilt trip me in our weekly phone calls. However, what I soon learned is that being 16 and making all my decisions and living/going to school with people all in the same exact predicament was a recipe for dramatic disaster, as I’m sure one can imagine. To cope with this and a considerable level of homesickness, I started to attend as many church services and bible studies as I could get my hands on in search of familiarity and to my surprise, it was God who I found. I found Him in the people that when I came looking for advice would provide me with perspectives to consider instead of jumping to my “side” in angry support. I found Him in the girls in my Bible study who would leave sticky notes on my door reminding me of how very loved we all are. I found Him in the youth pastors who gave sermons that convicted me in ways I didn’t even know I should be convicted. I found Him in the people.
This is why I am going to New Zealand to represent this wonderful organization. I am going to find the Lord in the people of New Zealand and explain why His name, and no other, provides peace and hope and clarity and stability, just as I have been reminded of every day since I asked Christ to be king of my life.
Follow the journey at FROM THE EDGES OF THE WORLD
Annie Kate Leinius: January – April 2020
I am very excited to serve as a 2020 Resident in Mission (RIM) in New Zealand through World Methodist Evangelism. My faith in God has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was baptized as a baby at First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and grew up being involved in the children’s and youth programs, attending church camps, retreats, and mission trips. During my high school years, I attended Bradbury United Methodist Church. It was during that time that I began to realize that God’s plan for my life was to share the love of Jesus to other people in some way. After high school, I enrolled at Emory and Henry College (EHC), in Southwest Virginia, where I graduated in May 2019 with a B.A. in Civic Innovation with a Minor in Religion. The Civic Innovation program at EHC is focused on developing students to be innovative problem-solvers and make creative contributions to the common good. I also wanted to obtain a Minor in Religion, so that I could apply my skills to Christian ministry in a faith-based organization. I wasn’t exactly sure what God’s plan was for me, but I knew that he had a good plan.
During my sophomore year in college, my family moved to Lenoir City, Tennessee where we joined our new home church, Central United Methodist Church. I was fortunate to serve as the summer intern at Central last year. I really feel that God is calling me to minister to the least, the last, and the lost. I think that this might be through mission work, or possibly ministering to people who all too often go unnoticed. I feel especially drawn to the elderly, individuals with disabilities, or to disadvantaged populations. I also love working with children! I think it is very important to listen to what these groups of people have to say and to make sure that they understand how much Jesus loves them.
Like most people, I have experienced difficult times and challenges in my life, like the unexpected loss of my Dad when I was thirteen years old. I fully understand what grief feels like, but I also know the good news, that God loves me, and because of that, I am strong. I have also been blessed with a family that loves and supports me very much. When I’m not in school, I live with my Mom and Stepdad in Lenoir City. I have a brother, two stepbrothers, three nephews, Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle who have provided me much support through the years.
My Christian faith is what keeps me standing, so I want to share my faith and let people know that Jesus provides hope when they feel despair and that even when they might feel insignificant, they are important because of his love. There are people in the world that may never know these things unless the message is brought to them, wherever they may be. In Mark 16:15, Jesus said: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”. I am blessed to have this opportunity as a Resident in Mission (RIM) in New Zealand, representing World Methodist Evangelism. I think it is part of His plan for me.