Meet Serenity

“Camp gave Serenity the push she needed, but the corps strengthened the foundation that had begun so many years ago.”

Serenity was introduced to church by her grandfather, who took her to Sunday Mass each week. He wanted her to have an understanding of what faith was about. When Serenity entered elementary school, he saw her need for an active youth ministry and started sending her to the local Salvation Army. Serenity found her place there and became involved in every program she could. She became a Junior Soldier (junior member), started learning to play the cornet in the beginner band, joined Kids Club, went to Camp Wonderland in the summer and even picked up her first timbrel. 

Being at the corps (church) was a way of life for Serenity during her childhood. But, as life sometimes does, Serenity was thrown a curveball that changed everything. Serenity lived with her mom, who suffered from alcoholism, until family services removed her from the home. She was sent to live with her father, who was virtually a stranger. Her corps (church) family rallied around her as her lifeline through this time of trauma and depression. As the situation stretched on, Serenity grew angry. She couldn’t understand why God would allow her life to be this way and she began to drift away from her faith. This drifting coincided with the start of the pandemic; the shutdown provided an easy way out of corps life. 

By summer of 2021, Serenity knew that this life was not what she wanted it to be. After reflecting on each summer she was at camp, she applied to and was hired at Camp Wonderland. Serenity says it was like coming home. Being back in that environment, surrounded by people who loved Jesus and her, Serenity began to let go of her anger toward God. None of this was His fault; He loved her. When summer ended, Serenity went back to the corps, this time in a neighboring town. Camp gave Serenity the push she needed, but the corps strengthened that foundation that had begun so many years ago.

Today, Serenity is majoring in biology at college and working as a pharmacy technician, with hopes of going to medical school or pharmacy school. She wants to help people through her gifts in science. “I know God was always with me,” Serenity says. “God used others to be a witness in my life and He led me home.” 

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