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Special guest at Gospel Fest uses testimony, songs to inspire students

By Amanda Leon
On October 17, 2013

  • Red light, green light. Traffic is moving smoothly at the University Drive and Owens Road intersection.

unday's Best Winner Leandria Johnson graced the stage in the Opal Johnson-Smith auditorium in the Memorial Student Center Sunday and divulged personal life experiences and heart breaks to the Gospel Fest audience of predominantly young adults.
 Tears filled the eyes of so many people as Johnson talked of overcoming promiscuity and out of wedlock pregnancy.
The moment was so significant that countless phones were pulled out to capture it. With the help of 11 male audience members she demonstrated God's ability to carry any individual through difficult circumstances.
Johnson began to connect with her audience on a personal level by specifically staring certain individuals in the eye as she spoke, placing her arms around them and declaring victory over the audience as a whole.
She sang songs such as "I've Decided," "No Turning Back," and "He Will Supply."
Backstage when asked about her memory of winning Sunday's Best, she simply responded, "I just had to thank Him." Johnson had faced persecution and scrutiny prior to stardom.
When asked about how battling negativity while in the limelight differs from doing so as a traditional citizen, she described it as "strange."
Johnson was reluctant to discuss the negativity of the past, but was more interested in focusing on the fact that she had overcome.
Johnson was reminded of the performance in which she accompanied fellow songstress Fantasia Barrino as they sang "Lose to Win."
During the performance Johnson pointed to the sky as she sang.
When asked about what exactly it was that she had to lose in order to win, she responded, "I had to lose myself in order to receive God. I had to give up my desires and take on God's desires."
She credits her success to the transformation of desires.
Johnson demonstrated great enthusiasm to share words of wisdom, when reporters asked if there was any advice she would like to give to this generation of young people.
With great intent she responded, "Your yes will be someone else's yes."
She then elaborated, saying that by accepting Christ and choosing to endure with a simple yes, it will give another person the strength to do the same.
Johnson engaged fans and supporters in her dressing room as she conversed and took pictures with them.
Gospel Fest was an electrifying event and possessed diverse forms of worship.
The Baptist Student Movement Choir exemplified its usual flair and originality as members sang songs that provoked the audience to shout and syncopate.
Chelsea Warren entered the stage with an apparent desire to worship. She ushered the crowd into worship as she sang "Our God is An Awesome God."
The audience thoroughly enjoyed Gary Mayes and Nu Era. Both their sound and attire were very modern.
The crowd stood to their feet as they danced and swayed along. When they began to sing traditional hymns in addition to their more contemporary style of music, the audience was stirred. Songs like "I Know It Was the Blood" and "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" clearly moved them.
In a brief interview, Mayes expressed a deep passion for the youth.
Mayes and Era will be releasing an album in January titled "They Call Me Joseph, Job, David." Mayes described this album as his "testimony." Other excellent performances included Young Glory and the University College Choir.
Gospel Fest included other forms of worship such as dance and mime. The Baptist Student Movement Praise Dancers fluidly danced to Kirk Franklin's "Don't Cry."
In this dance they depicted the immortality and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Sophomore architecture major Kyna Boyd commented, "It gave me chills."
PV Mime Ministry received an immediate round of applause before they even began their performance.
The audience demonstrated a sense of pride in the group of ministers. They mimed to Preshia Hilliard's "We Want You."
Mikel Willis, president of PV Mime, said every ministry opportunity is cherished and taken very seriously, but there is a level of love and support that he experiences from the on-campus community that is incomparable to other locations. He said, "It's good to be home."

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