As Told By a Pinelands Camper

February 5, 2021 | | GNJ News

Lizaura is in the process of finishing a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies with the goal of becoming an ESL teacher. Once done with her studies, she is contemplating going abroad as a missionary with Global Ministries. Currently, she is a full-time assistant teacher at a preschool.

By Lizaura Baez, daughter of Waleska Trinidad of Dobbins Memorial UMC

My name is Lizaura Baez, I am 23 years old, and have been a Methodist my whole life. When I look back on my journey of faith some of the most transformational moments in my life happened at camp.

As a child I got the opportunity to go to camp multiple times. Being a camper at Pinelands is an amazing and memorable experience, everything from the counselors, cabin mates, late night bonfires, mud hikes, team building activities, games, swimming at the lake, and worshipping in the green cathedral.

While forming friendships, making memories, and having experiences of a lifetime are all important, the deepest change that my time at Pinelands made was my faith.

As a child I was very confused as to what it meant to have faith and how I was supposed to live it. In the comfortable and open environment that Pinelands created I was able to ask questions and express my fears to my mentors and fellow peers.

The ability to share this time with campers my age enabled me to notice that I wasn’t alone in my struggles. I not only got answers but also gained knowledge that greatly impacted my spiritual growth and understanding of who God really is.

I realized that when it comes to faith there is no specific course of action, it is an individualistic path for everyone while being part of a community of faith.

Pinelands was like my second church full of friends that I looked forward to going back to each year. I give thanks for all the friendships made and for the ones that I still have.

Each time I attended Pinelands I would come home a changed and more confident disciple ready for any challenges, because I knew that God was on my side. The time I spent at Pinelands helped me in my journey of faith so much that I decided to be a camp counselor and mentor with the hope that other campers can experience God’s grace the way I did.