This was my third time attending the Festa GBU.
It’s always an opportunity for spiritual and personal growth, and also a chance to meet friends from all over Italy.
When registrations began a few months ago, I didn’t hesitate to register, and I wasn’t the only one! Several students from our GBU group in Turin signed up, also because our group was supposed to be in charge of the legendary coffee bar! We were excited at the prospect and were encouraging the new members of the group to come along.
Unfortunately, though, I received an email that I was hoping not to receive…
There would be no Festa GBU due to the Coronavirus. Postponed to 2021. Sad news, but the email also said that we would meet anyway, online. I didn’t have high expectations, but it was encouraging to know we would still have the chance to do something, despite these difficult times.
A couple of days before the beginning of the event, I saw the program and I had to change my mind because I wasn’t expecting it to be so full. It was almost like a regular day at the Festa, including the special guest! So I registered and picked which workshops to attend: this year too there were several interesting options.
And then, the great day arrived, April 25th.
I participated in all the events and I was really struck by them: I didn’t expect to see so many students online together! The morning message and the workshops made me think about my future and helped me to re-organize my priorities. They encouraged me to advance in my pursuit of the will of God for my life and challenged me to cultivate my prayer life in order to experience God’s presence and power in every situation. Like every year, I was enriched by the dialogue with other students who struggle with battles similar to mine, I really appreciated it.
It was a privilege to listen to the interview with Lindsay Brown, what a brilliant mind!
But my favorite moment was the prayer meeting at the end of the day and Johan’s closing speech. During the prayer time I could sense the unity of the Spirit in all of the participants (about 80 people) despite the distance!
And Johan really moved us when he spoke about the beginning of GBU in Italy, 70 years ago, and showed us some historic photos, or when he showed us the group photo of last year’s Festa GBU. Those historic pictures made me feel part of a ministry and service that go on in time; I’m deeply honored to collaborate with GBU and I’m happy to see how the Lord keeps blessing our groups and uses them as an instrument to reach students for him.
The picture from last year made me nostalgic for those wonderful moments!
After I disconnected from the call, I found out that I wasn’t the only from Turin to have been moved, and we were all excited and we want to have similar meetings in the future.
For me, Festa GBU Online was a breath of fresh air in this time of lockdown. I really hope to physically attend next year’s Festa GBU!
(student leader of GBU Turin)