Maina Sato (JCFN member in California, InterVarsity staff)
Hello, my name is Maina Sato and I am a Campus Minister at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at University of California, Berkeley.
A little bit about me, I was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan and I decided to follow Jesus in my sophomore year of college through InterVarsity International Student Ministry. Since then, I’ve always wanted to attend InterVarsity’s largest mission conference, Urbana. Urbana Student Mission Conference is a 5-day conference held only once every three years where 10,000-20,000 people worship and study God’s Word together.
Urbana 18 was my first Urbana and I participated as a staff member, which meant I had a specific job during the conference. I was invited to the dance team where we, the main dancers, created and performed multiple dances throughout the conference. This year at Urbana, we read through the book of Revelation and we choreographed three dances along to Revelation chapters 4, 18, and 19.
Rev. 4 dance
Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
The entire chapter of Rev. 4 emphasizes the greatness of God and how Holy He is.
The speaker at Urbana talked about how she once officiated a wedding in the middle of a slum alley because that’s where the couple first met each other. The streets were full of homeless people who were marginalized and abandoned by society. Among them, there was a flower girl that threw petals along the alley, shouting “there’s a wedding and you’re invited!” In this way, many casually joined their wedding. The speaker described this as one of the best and most beautiful weddings she has ever officiated. Then the speaker said, “Revelation 4 is like Jesus throwing his wedding in every single alley and inviting every single one of us. Our dance piece tried to embody this picture in Revelation 4. The dance started from a dark, hopeless scene of an alley where a dancer who played Jesus quietly walked among a group of people. The music changed when each of us encountered Jesus in different ways and then we worshiped and rejoiced at the presence of Jesus at the end. The whole stage was very powerful, especially because we all felt like Jesus was not only present physically in the form of a dancer, but also present in spirit on the stage with us. I noticed how the dancers’ facial expressions changed after encountering and interacting with Jesus.
You can watch the dance, Rev. 4 Amazed, right here!⏬
Gospel In Action
Come Out of Babylon, My People
GIA is an interactive session at Urbana. This year we told the story of Revelation 18, where the great Babylon is being judged by God for her sins. The dance team recruited 180 chorus back dancers to embody the building of and admiration of the Great City Babylon and show how boasting, pride, and worship of the city led to brokenness and then to destruction. There were 7 towers raised on the plenary, each of which represented key temptations relevant even in modern society: comfort, luxury, progress, independence, security and safety. The dance ended when the dancers all bowed down to the tower as if they surrendered and were enslaved to the city Babylon. The whole session questioned what our Babylon is. When we look at the world today, we see that it is very broken, judging by things like war, human trafficking, sexual abuse, etc. At times, even Christian theology and churches have caused the mistreatment or even death of people. Some might deny involvement and point at the “bad Christians.”But God says we all have participated in building up Babylon in some way and He is calling each of us to come out of Her. (Revelation 18:4)
Form Of Worship
There are many ways we can worship our God. The six main dancers come from very different backgrounds in terms of their lives and dance styles. We were from different countries and spiritual upbringings. Some did ballet and some did hip hop, so our dance reflected these differences, told the story that we encounter Jesus in different ways and that this a good thing. I always unconsciously associated worship only with singing songs and playing music, but at Urbana, God taught me that I could worship Him with my dancing as well. This means a lot to me because I have been dancing ballet for pretty much my entire life, even before I came to know Him. So when God allows me to be on the stage and dance for Him, I feel like He cared about me even before I became a Christian. There were a handful of people who were just freely dancing on the floor during worship at Urbana and that made me want to cry in joy because they knew how to express their admiration of God in the way that God made them.
Sound of Heaven
Around 11,000 gathered at Urbana this year. Can you imagine them singing joy to the Lord all at once? I felt like it was God allowing us to experience the very sound of heaven here on earth. We sang songs in Zulu, Indonesian, Mandarin, Spanish, Korean, Farsi, English, French etc. God is the same forever and ever and this is true no matter what country you live in and what language you speak.
My journey as a full time minister has just started and I particularly need more prayer regarding financial support. I am looking for groups of people who would support me regularly through prayer and financial giving. As for the amount, I’m specifically in need of $1000/mo or more. If you enjoyed reading some of my testimonies and if you feel burdened to reach out to international students or the Japanese population, would you please pray and consider being a partner with me in this ministry? I would be happy to get connected if you’d like to hear more of what God’s been doing in my life. I can be reached with this email. firstname.lastname@example.org
If God is calling you to partner with this ministry, you can set up one-time or monthly donations through this link