Sunday, February 1, 2015

My headcovering testimony (Part 2) –what made me decide to cover full-time

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Those of you who read my headcovering testimony (Part 1) know well that I am a shy Asian woman. So it required me so much courage and guts to start headcovering practice in the church. Just the love toward God’s Words and the power of the Holy Spirit made it possible to overcome my timidity and embark on the totally new adventure.

So you may wonder how it is possible, that this shy Asian woman even starts to cover full-time right now. What happened to her? What made her decide to take further steps? Well, I am going to tell you my story.

Desires and struggles

Somewhere around last spring, I found that something in me started to yearn for full-time covering. It was almost an irresistible desire which was hard to be ignored nor repressed.

“But I am not a nun! How could I ever walk around the streets and stores with my head veiled? After all, I am just an ordinary evangelical Christian. Oh, how I wish I was in the church environment, such as old order Mennonite church in the states or in Canada where all the sisters are covering full-time!”

An Asian full-time headcovering woman? Well, I have never heard nor seen such a woman in my life. Not a single one. True, many Indian Christian ladies are still covering their heads but their practices tend to be considered “cultural” by the world and so outsiders usually don’t think it strange.

But how about East Asian? The Christian population in Japan is less than 1 %. So if you become a Christian in Japan, you will be placed into an overwhelming minority group. Then if you decide to cover your head during the church service, this time, you will be even more alienated from the rest of the people. So,, imagine what will happen if you start to cover your head full-time in these environments? Will I be like a Martian?

From the kindergarten to high school, I had been trained to live uniformly. Same school uniforms, same school bags, same manner to answer the questions etc. We were not encouraged to develop our originality or individuality. In a word, this was our cultural norm.  

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, calls out each individual from the familiar, earthly cultural norm. Whether we like it or not, Jesus Christ with His authority, compels us to strip off our external, earthly ornaments and medals. He presses hard to the core of my timidity and the source of earthly attachments and calls me, “Leave them, and follow Me.”

In order to attach myself to Him and His word, I must learn how to detach myself from the earthly ties and norms. I must keep saying No! to my old world system with its values in order to abide in the True Vine (John 15).

First attempt

After several months of inner struggles, I finally decided to cover my head full-time. I put on a white triangle handkerchief and went outside. Everywhere I went, I was very self-conscious. I tried my best to be normal and natural in my behavior. The following morning, however, I had to go to embassy for paper works. In the government office, I could not help but feeling that I was a weird girl after all. The receptionist was kind but there was a hidden but obvious question mark on her face.

I came out of the office with blushed face and went to the bus stop. And then,,,I took the veil off instinctively. I could not continue it anymore. Thus, after only 1 day and a half, my first covering venture failed. The cultural tide was too strong for me to face by myself.

Second attempt

Although I went back to my non-full-time daily life, the inner desire to cover full-time never ceased. On the contrary, it has got increased and burned inside me day by day. I often said to myself, “Birds in the sky are free because they fly freely as they wish without worrying about what others think.”

“Supposed you are living in this town by yourself, what do you want to do?” I asked myself. “Well, of course, I would joyously go around everywhere with my veil.”  Then sadly, I look at my reality. I felt I was like a caged bird. I was not free. I was not doing what my conscience desires because of the fear of men.

Then I opened the letter pad and started to write to my elder sister D in Pennsylvania. I poured all of my heart, explaining how I failed on my first attempt and how I wish to do what my conscience desires. And I sincerely asked her to pray for me that He would grant me power and courage to practice it. I also humbly asked my husband to pray for me about this issue.

The power of Christ

Thanks to their prayers and warm support, I decided to start it again. This time, God granted me much more inner strength and determination to keep going. At the end of October, 2014, I joined 4-day Christian retreat. I had been deadly afraid of the reactions of the elders in the church there, but He gave me supernatural courage and boldness to keep going as a veiled woman. 

I testify to the world that it is not I who live and act as I do but Christ lives and works in me. I am a very very timid woman but the fire of Christ drives me to do something unbelievable. I testify to the world that Christ is our universal King and He is a living Son of God. He can use even a little, fragile vessel to manifest that His Words endure forever.

Thank you so much for reading my testimony. If the Lord willing, I’d like to share with you some of the major spiritual transformations which the headcovering practice has brought into my life in one of my future posts.


Jessica R said...

Dear Kinuko,
Thank you for sharing with us the next part in your headcovering testimony. I don't see you as shy at all, but as a very brave, committed lady! I think if you saw the rest of us on the inside, you would discover that we ALL suffer from "I don't want to be the weird one" syndrome.

Yes, Jesus asks us, with His authority, to detach ourselves from the world, and follow him. I don't want to be like the rich young man who wouldn't give up his riches in order to follow Christ.

I very much liked reading your story, and am excited to hear about the spiritual transformations you've experienced! (Whenever you're ready)

Kinuko H said...

Dear Jessica,
Thank you so much for your reflections.

I found it very intriguing when you said, ‘I think if you saw the rest of us on the inside, you would discover that we ALL suffer from “I don’t want to be the weird one” syndrome’.

Actually, Sanae told me the same point the other day. She had thought it must be easier for North American sisters to practice head covering because USA/Canada are multicultural nations which allow various ideas and ways of life, but she found that her assumption was wrong after reading various testimonies (including yours). She told me it is as hard as any other nations. Yes, I agreed with her. And I realized that many of us are sharing the same mental struggles regardless of our national differences.

And this realization made me feel even much closer to you and like-minded sisters across the globe. I am so glad that now we are in the same boat!

Jessica R said...

You make a good point about headcovering in the USA being just as hard as in other nations. Here, even at church, there is a strong nonconformist attitude prevalent. But it looks like this: "Jesus made me free, so I don't have to fit in with any stuffy, old ttraditions. I'm free to do what I want, and don't you dare try to stick me in a mold!" So, we are all expected to conform with nonconformity, which in itself becomes a form of non-originality, and a prison!

I think this attitude is rebellious and reflects a misunderstanding of the law versus grace issue. Being traditional is seen as being legalistic. How confused many in the church have become: for the headcovering doctrine is not a mere tradition of man but an ordinance from God!

I appreciate SO MUCH your strong, persevering stand on this issue! Yes, we are all in the same boat!


Candace Curry said...

beautiful it takes a lot of courage to cover full time! It is such a testimony of his grace in our weakness! It is the gospel! Praise God!!!

Kinuko H said...

Dear Candace. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Yes,you are right, Candace. His grace in our weakness! I like the following words of God;

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Let us continue to walk in His light together, Candace! God bless you and your family.Kinuko

Kinuko H said...

Jessica, I am thinking of making a special post concerning the point which you mentioned here, because I think it is a very very important topic. Thank you so much for opening this subject. with Love, Kinuko

Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica,I am Sanae. thank you for telling about nonconformist attitude in American church. I have never known this.
As a minority( japanese christian),sometimes we face the fact that many japanese people think faith is not very important matter.
To have storong faith does not always mean good thing in Japan.
But now I know..through your words and testimony.. American believers also have struglle in different way to seek the truth.
I have a praise song file that one American missionary used in Japan.
He left Japan several years ago to move other country.(He left the file to one of my friend, and she gave me.)
He wrote the all song lylics both english and japanese using roman alphabet by PC for him to sing with japanese.I was moved.
In history of japanese christianity,american christians gave so many things.
I want to pray for American believers.I am happy to know you,thank you.

Irina Glazkova said...

Jessica, living in the USA for almost a year. I have seen that attitude most of the time. My current church adopted neutral attitude towards head covering. Basically, if you want to cover your head--free to do this.
Kinuko, amazing post. I actually have a scarf in my purse or backpack wherever I go. I pray that head covering will gain more attention. Also attitude is important. When I started covering most of my friends from church looked bewildered, now they are giving me scarves and hats for presents.

Kinuko H said...

Dear Sanae san, thank you for telling us the great role which American missionaries have played on Japanese church history. You are absolutely right. We owe to these precious brothers and sisters who abandoned their comfort lives in order to serve Japanese people over the centuries. We honor each one of them and we want to give our thanks to them.

I remember one American missionary back in Japan (she is around 60 years old). Because of her age, she had difficulty in learning Japanese and she could not communicate very well. But I have seen her praying silently in front of each seat in the church early in the morning (people were not there still). She was praying that God would grant blessings on each member. I happened to witness this scene one time, which I could never forget. It was NOT important for us whether she could speak Japanese well or not. Not at all, for she spoke so powerfully by her pure love and her dedicated life. Yes, we are so grateful that He has sent His servants in the midst of us so that we could (can) actually SEE Christ in their lives.

Kinuko H said...

Dear Irina,

Your remark about the importance of our attitude is very thoughtful. Your humble and soft words and attitude always teach me something. I realize that headcovering practice must always be linked to our inner softness and humbleness. Thank you for your good input, Irina. Kinuko

Jessica R said...

Dear Sanae and Irina,
Thank you for your comments to me!

Sanae, thank you for sharing with us about that American missionary to the Japanese, and his contribution of music. How wonderful!

Irina, thank you for your validation of my perspective on American culture! There are a lot of rebels here, but they all seem to rebel in the same way (very non-original), both outside the church and inside the church, sadly.

I am glad to have known both of you, and Kinuko, too!
Your friend,

Anonymous said...

Ms.Kinuko,I'm Sanae.Thank you for sharing beautiful episode pf American missionary lady. In my life I have seen and heard of many missionaries from many countries. (USA,Korea,German,England,Vietnam,Finland..) It is surprising that so many brave believers have come to Japan.Japanese christians may be few,but I want to thank them because I believe their efforts never be in vain in God's eyes.
May God bless all of devoted missionaries.(Ms,Kinuko, off course including you!)

Kinuko H said...

Dear Sanae, I totally agree with you. So many brave missionaries have come to Japan and become its soil (John 12:24). How can we honor and express our deep gratitude to them? Do you have any good idea? Have you ever heard of the name Joshua Hewitt (1907-1942)? He was an Irish missionary to Japan and died as a young martyr there. He was advised to leave Japan when the war occurred but he refused to go because he could not leave his beloved Japanese brothers and sisters.He rather chose sufferings (and even death) for the sake of us. His death was terrible, which few Japanese actually know. Sanae san, do you think it is good if I write a biography of this missionary on this blog in order to express our gratitude to him and his sacrificial love?

Anonymous said...

Dear Kinuko. I'm Sanae. Yes,sure. I have not known about Josua Hewitt until now you told me.Many of missionarie's stories seems to be forgotten in Japan.I think it my point of view,sometimes in Japan- maybe not only in Japan,missionaries are blamed as 'cultural invaders'. But through them, through their efforts,the name of Jesus became well known also in Japan.My first English teacher was American priest. I know many missionaries are still working in Japan.
Please write the article.And I hope your article encourage missionaries!

April Cassidy said...

So beautiful and powerful! May God richly bless your walk with Christ!

Eugenia said...

I began covering full-time when I was 59 years old - active in a church in which no one else covered and came from a church background where no one else covered. I can only declare that I am more blessed each day as I wear the veil and endeavor to honor God in this way. I URGE all of you to be open to God's leadership in this area and allow yourself the joys of covering full-time.

Kinuko H said...

Dear April, thank you so much for your warm comments!! Do you remember that I had asked you to translate your headcovering testimony into Japanese? Your testimony is now on my Japanese blog and it has inspired many! I have read your writings and saw youtube videos. Your service on this earth is wonderful and I highly respect you. Thank you so much again for your messages. from Kinuko

Kinuko H said...

Dear Sister Eugenia, thank you so much for your comment. Yes, as you wisely told me, I want to be open to His leadership. I am so glad that now I have like-minded sisters in all over the world. May God richly bless you. Kinuko

Kegan Cook said...

Dearest Sister Kinuko,

You encourage me so much! You have such a meek and quiet spirit and do whatever God shows you in His word! I am a US christian and also cover full time. I completely cover my hair. I started covering a couple of years ago and got a lot of weird looks and some questions. It was hard being weird. But I only covered in services then. I did not want to cover full time because I knew it would just make me weirder. I have already been called legalistic by a friend. But God kept putting it in my heart to cover full time and then I decided to in bout August of last year. It was hard...
In a small congregation of 50-60, my mother and i are the only ones that cover. I wear a headcovering fulltime (with the exeptions of at home or at an all-women gathering) that completely covers my hair and, apart from 1Cor 11 for when I pray, these are some reasons why:

1) It encourages me to dress modestly. Hard to wear a headcovering and a low-cut shirt.

2) It helps me to remember the persecuted worldwide, particularly in the east.

3) It reminds me to have a meek and quiet spirit and be silent during services.

4) It gives me opportunities to talk about my faith. You said christians in Japan are less than 1%. Then by you covering full time you will open the door for people to ask questions and for you to tell them about your wonderful Lord Jesus. :)

5) It helps me relate with other women world-wide, particular muslim women.

6) The biggest reason for my full-time covering is to save my main beauty for my husband.

I am only sixteen and want to live a life of modesty for my husband. One of my biggest issues is to not become legalistic or judgmental of others. I just want to serve God faithfully, or as Sister Jessica said “faithful over a few things”.
So (I'm sorry for this long comment! Please forgive me!), You are from Japan. I am absolutely in love with Japan! こんにちは! Although I do not speak Japanese, I know a few phrases and love the language. Oh! How many questions I could ask! I know some missionaries who live in Hokkaido. I wrote a song for them but never have sent it to them yet...Thank you for your story about the missionary! I love hearing about martyrs and it is my joy to pray for them. I will certainly pray for you. You honor God so beautifully!
I would love to talk to you more! If you have a facebook page and don't mind, please friend request me!

Thank you for all you do! I am truly inspired by you. :)

Love in Christ,

Kegan Cook

Kegan Cook said...

By the way, love your covering veil! It is beautiful!

Kinuko H said...

Dear sweet young sister, Kegan,
My heart was lifted up when I read your lovely, sincere letter. How wonderful that you have walked in the Lord with such dedication! When I was 16 years old, I was living without Christ. God must have a specific plan in your life. I am so excited about it!

The above 6 points which you mentioned are awesome. Especially, the point 4) opened my eyes to see my situation with hopeful light. Do you know Sister Sanae? (I wrote about her in my previous post, "I've found an Asian Headcovering sister!". She is a devote believer and also a full-time coverer in Japan.

Kegan, I don't have a facebook, so I am going to send an email to your gmail address. Please send my best regards to your mother!

with love and sisterly affection,

Kegan Cook said...

Dearest Sister Kinuko,

Thank you for your reply! It is always uplifting to fellowship with other believers and tell about our walk with the Lord! He is wonderful and worthy of praise! I hope to enter into the fellowship of all these beloved sisters in Christ. :)

I have seen some of Sanae's comments and stuff. But I have not yet talked with her. If you could direct her to my email address, then we can chat as well. ^~^

I will certainly, Lord be willing, send your regards to my mother!

If you don't mind my asking, which island do you live on? The missionaries I told you about are Josh and Alicia Crowe. I'm sure they would love to hear from you. ^~^ I have directed Sister Alicia Crowe to your blog, so you might hear from her soon. God be willing, you will make great friends!

I hope to talk to you more! You know...I was thinking today: When we cover full time, we are a living testimony to the world. Wherever we go and whatever we do, without saying a word, we are presenting Christ and His character to everyone we meet...I was honored and uplifted to think of that! What a priveledge! I am glad to serve Him so!

Oh! And if I am not mistaken, Gospel For Asia has many headcovering sisters all around Asia. But I'm not sure...

Love to you in Christ Jesus!

Yours truly in Christ,

Kegan Cook

Kinuko H said...

Dear sweet Kegan

How delightful to fellowship with a passionate young maiden like you, Kegan! Thank you so much for your comment. I was so touched by your following words;

<You know...I was thinking today: When we cover full time, we are a living testimony to the world. Wherever we go and whatever we do, without saying a word, we are presenting Christ and His character to everyone we meet...I was honored and uplifted to think of that! What a privilege! I am glad to serve Him so!

Wonderful! "When we cover full time, we are a living testimony to the world." I must write your words on my journal!

By the way, have you written your head covering testimony? If you have, please share with me. I'd love to read your testimony.

<Oh! And if I am not mistaken, Gospel For Asia has many headcovering sisters all around Asia.

Kegan, actually, Sanae and I have been praying to God to let us know about other Asian head covering sisters and fellowship with them. For, as far as we know, we are the only Japanese full-time coverer right at this moment. Kegan, do you have any idea how we can find them? How can we let them know that we are here (this blog)? It would be great if sisters of Gospel of Asia can locate us and contact us. Since I am not good at computer, I need your wisdom! Thank you so much!

P.S. I am looking forward to hearing from Sister Alicia. I came from Kyushu island but currently I am living in Greece as a servant of God.

Anonymous said...

Hello,Kegan. I am Sanae,whom Kinuko mentioned. I am so glad to know you! I have read your comment on Jessica's blog,too.

You're practicing headcovering with true and faithful heart. I admire your bravery so much. Because I know especially among young people,there is big peer pressure from friends,classmates,and others. I guess I could not be like you when I was 16years old.( I believes in Jesus at my age of 20.)
I usually use headbands,sometimes in my house use scarves.I started headcovering inspired by many testimonies of other sisters.(including Kinuko,Jessica,Irina)
I asked Kinuko to tell you my email adress when she can have opportunity to send you email.( I do'nt have facebook account,too.)
I'm 41yrs old, housewife, stay at home mam of 12yrs old boy.
Please feel free if you have something you want to ask me,thank you!

PS I live in Osaka,Japan. I feel so encouraged to hear that your friends stay in Japan as missionaries! We Japanese christian have received so many from North American missionaries. May God bless you and them!

Irina Glazkova said...

Dear amazing Kegan,
It's so amazing to see another head-covering Christian sister. I read your comments on sister Jessica's blog. This is so amazing to see another single Christian lady who covers her head. I am the only unmarried woman who covers her head in my church, we have few others who wear mantilla during worship. Heaad covering is such a blessing to us. Please visit my post when you get a chance:
I believe that head covering in churches is coming back albeit in a slow rate.
Originally I am from Russia. I spent most of my life on Sakhalin Island which is pretty close to Japan. Today I live in Newfoundland, Canada.
God bless,

Kegan Cook said...

Dearest Sister Sanae,

That's wonderful! And thanks. :) I am actually homeschooled, so I do not have as much peer pressure as many others do. I am teaching my baby brother. He is very funny when he starts talking about headcoverings. But he is very smart. I think he gets that a lot of people don't like what mom and I do. So he only ever talks about it at home. But he believes in it cuz that's what we've taught him. Lol! XD He's going to be a different kid. :) He was overjoyed when I told him about other ladies that cover their head! He is so encouraging to me. He is six years old, going on seven. He's the sunshine of my life. ^~^
That is cool! I will direct Alicia-San to you and Kinuko-San as best I can. :)
I will email you as soon as I get the chance. Thanks!

Love in Christ,

Kegan Cook

Kegan Cook said...

Dearest Sister Irina,

So glad to meet you! In the King James Version, it uses the word "woman" instead of "wife". The original greek word can be used either way. I'm a strong proponent for all women wearing headcoverings. ^~^
Nice to meet someone from Russia! ^~^
I went to visit your link, but it said that particular page did not exist, so I went to your home page. :)
Please feel free to email me and converse more!

Love in Christ,

Kegan Cook

Anonymous said...

Dear Kegan,thank you for your comment and sharing about your little brother! In Japan christian home schoolers are very few(I heard once that there are about 400 home schoolers in Japan,but I'm not sure.),to tell the truth I have never seen them.I think you and Jessica are so blessed by this.
In Japan the number of christian is very few.1percent of population.(As for Cathoric church more than half of members are not Japanese.I am a protestant/evangelical christian.) We are absolute minority.
I appriciate that many north American missionaries are still working in my country.God bless!

Sanae From Japan

Kegan Cook said...

Dearest Sanae-san,

Thank you for your reply! It saddens me to know this about your country. :( I would say that most "christians" in my country aren't really christians but say that they are for many reasons. Still, I know it must be hard in your country as well. I have a heavy heart for Japan! I pray that God moves hearts to Him and that many will tell your people about Christ. May many be saved! God is mighty and able to do all things! It is His desire that none should go to hell but that everyone would enjoy the benefits of living in Him and with Him. God bless you and all the 1% christians! May you all stand strong for Jesua and be a very bright light in a very dark place. (:)

Yours ever,
Kegan Cook

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your encouragement! I shared and will share about Japanese christians in my comment.(When I can find opportunity..I really appriciate Kinuko for opening this blog!) One of the reason of that is that I expect prayers for Japan of other believers in the world. Kegan,thank you for answering!

Sharing from Jessica and Irina taught me that believers in North American churches also have many struggle. As you did,Jessica also pointed out that many of USA christians are not truth seeking believers. Once my Phillipina friend said to me 'If you can find someone who has true relationship with God in churches,you are so,so,so happy.' Phillipine is also christian country(83percent cathoric,10percent protestant/evangelical) but seems to have similar problem.

Kegan,if you have any matters that you want me to pray,Please share with me!
I appriciate that you have 'a heavy heart for Japan'.

with love Sanae

Hillary Anderson said...

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Kinuko H said...

Thank you, Hillary!May God bless you.