Genfest 2018 has passed in the blink of an eye. Young people with different religious, cultural and social backgrounds had gathered in Manila and Tagaytay, going beyond their borders (geographical as well as personal) to reach out to others and plant the seeds of harmony. Various groups came from populous Asian countries. Neither Christians, nor Muslims or Buddhists, some were agnostics or people who don’t profess any particular religious beliefs, but they came for the Genfest and the Post-Genfest. Two of them were Linda and Cecille, both Chinese, and Saurabh from India.

Linda and Cecille knew about the Genfest through a Gen or Focolare youth. Due to the trust built up with this friend, the two Chinese girls decided to come for the Genfest
in Manila. They were to learn a common language useful anywhere in the whole wide world – SMILING!

During the Genfest, they noticed a boy who was missing his backpack with his passport and some important documents. His friends started to help him look for the bag, while others coming from diverse countries, standing nearby, also joined in the search. Linda and Cecille witnessed these small acts of universal fraternity even though some of those who helped out didn’t speak the same language nor come from the same country. With the help of many, the backpack was eventually found. Such a little incident allowed them all to experience the fruits of unity.

Another impression is from Saurabh, a joyful and positive fellow coming from a socially active community in India. He and his many friends have tried to seek God through good deeds for humanity. His group has invited the members of the Focolare in India to several charitable social events and he came to Genfest precisely because of the “counter-invitation” from some in the Focolare. He shared his views about a united world within a globalized context influenced by technology, which may contribute to build a united world even though there are physical and linguistic barriers.

A united world, for Saurabh, is not only a utopian idea, but something that can become a reality. For him, this means having the willingness to open up oneself, to let go of oneself and to communicate with every person truly and honestly. He continued: “Selfless sharing can lead all of us to connect together and become one. However, to build a united world is not always easy and smooth sailing. It takes time.

There are always obstacles on the journey towards a more united world.” Saurabh admitted that for him, the greatest barrier to a united world is his own mindset which often colors how he views the world that surrounds him. However, he became convinced that letting go of himself and being willing to open up to others are decisive steps to build a more united world.

Saurabh, Linda and Cecille may seem like a random sample among the participants in Genfest 2018, but in reality, they share the same beliefs and the desire to build a more united world by carrying out concrete acts of genuine love with their neighbors. They don’t simply agree with the Genfest project, but have really experienced that universal fraternity is possible, beyond all cultural, social, racial and linguistic borders.

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