Ohayō gozaimasu, everyone! Today, I finally get to upload this interview that I did with Kinuko-san! For those of you who do not know her, please check out her blog: http://japanesebiblewoman.blogspot.com
Meet Kinuko-san. She is the meekest woman I have ever met. She bubbles over with sincerety and joy. She is the ultimate uplifter, encourager, and focusser. She will carry you through any dark place any day. What a gift it is to know such a one as dear, sweet Kinuko-san! Now, I finally have the honour and privilege to share her words of wisdom in many areas. I pray in the name of Jesus that this article will touch many lives like Kinuko-san has impacted mine!
1. Konnichiwa, Kinuko-san! I’m so honoured to have such an opportunity to interview such an admired, looked-up-to, godly woman! 🙂 First thing’s first, please introduce a bit about yourself.
—Thank you, Kegan! My name is Kinuko, and I was born and brought up in the southern part of Japan. I am 36-years-old and, together with my husband, am serving as a missionary in Greece.
2. Where are you from? What was it like there? Can you briefly give some favorite memories?
—I am from the Kagoshima prefecture, which is famous for the final battle between the Samurai and the Meiji government army. There is an active volcano called Sakurajima there, so we often needed umbrellas in order to avoid the ashes! Oh, let me share my favorite memories. Until 12, I hadn’t learned any English, though I was so curious about the outside world. The first day of our English class, each student was instructed to say, “My name is…” Everyone knew how to pronounce this sentence except me. I started to panic. I listened to their words carefully and concluded that they were saying, “Mayonnaise is…” So when it came to my turn, I said timidly, “Mayonnaise is Kinuko.”
When I was 5-years-old, I started to learn traditional Japanese calligraphy. I just loved it. It was the world of beauty and concentration. I could learn many classical Chinese vocabularies through it as well. I alsi liked to watch sumo tournaments with my grandfather.
3. Where do you live now? What is it like there? What is your favorite thing about it?
—I live in one of the poorest sections of Athens where there are many refugees. I have been so blessed to be in this place. This is the place where I have been learning the sweet detachment from the world, the riches and prestige. This is the place where I feel I can connect to the people most and feel that I am loved.
4. So, you also cover your head. How often do you do it and what are your reasons? What kind of headcoverings do you use most often? How has headcovering blessed you?
—Yes, the headcovering practice has brought me tremendous spiritual blessings. I cover because of my love and obedience to His word, and I believe that the headcovering ordinance of 1Corinthians 11 is applicable for today. It has changed me from inside. I feel so feminine and secure when I cover my head. From last October, I became a full-time coverer, meaning I cover all the time excpet bath-time and sleeping time. Words are not enough to express the sweet blessedness of head covering!
Mostly, I use white coverings, like the one you see in this picture:
5. You also prize modesty. Do you have any words you would like to say to our audience on this topic?
—My modest dress journey began by the rebuke from the Lord. I used to dress immodestly, despite the fact that I was serving in the church. I was so careless that one brother in the church was caused to stumble by the way I dressed. One sister even warned me because of this, but I was arrogant , stubborn, and unrepentant at that time. May God forgive me. Then, one night, God really showed me my sin and I repented wholeheartedly, throwing all the immodest clothes in the trash. Now I am writing articles and testimonies regarding this topic as a repentant sinner. I’ve learned that causing others to stumble is a grave sin–a grave sin against God and our neighbors. Christian modesty springs up from our sincere desire to love our neighbors by not giving them stumbling blocks.
6. What is your number one life goal?
—My number one life goal is to be the smallest pencil in the hands of God and that this pencil would be used for describing the minute part in His picture. Rather than leveling the land the land with a bulldozer, I’d like to dig the piece of land with a small scoop, planting the seedling of love in each precious soul. I’d like Jesus to use me to bring little joy here and there like a butterfly. And like you, dear Kegan, “for me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). And I want to join the saints who “follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth” (Revelations 14:4). Like Henry Martyn, I want to pray, “O God, let me burn out for you!”
7. You also have a blog. What is your primary purpose in this and what have you learned from it?
—The reason why I started an english blog was to publish my headcovering testimony . I, as an Asian sister, wanted to encourage my fellow covering sisters that the headcovering movement in the 21st century is not a regional (North American), small phenomenon but it is a trans-cultural, biblical and universal movement. (Dear Christian friends who share the same concern regarding the negative influence of feminism upon the evangelical churches, please read the following letter: <http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles/an-open-letter-to-complementarians-about-head-covering>. I am so grateful that through the blog, He has brought me life-long soul mates whom I love dearly and from whom I am learning some of the most vital lessons on a daily basis.
8. You are now married. Is there any advice or encouragement you would like to give to our married couples? Let’s not forget our singles! Is there anything you would like to say to them?
—As a Christian wife, I am seeking biblical submission at home. There is one word which I cherrish in my domestic life; that is a simple word: “Yes.” I will not allow my flesh to make excuses when I am asked something from my husband. I simply respond “yes” and do accordingly. This is the wonderful biblical discipline through which we are able to learn how to say “yes” to the will of the Father without grumbling or complaining and obey it promptly. Where there is order, there is peace and harmony. We see this truth when we observe the nature around us as well. I believe that the biblical submission is the fountain of bliss in our marriage life.
Dear single maidens, I’d like to testify one thing. I chose to walk a life-journey with a brother who gave up the worldly riches and prestige. And I humbly tell you that I made the right choice. It’s better to suffer godly poverty than to live with an ungodly man with luxaries. Living with a godly spouse is one of the greatest blessings and inner fulfillment which we sisters can cherrish on this earth. Maidens, please ask Him to cultivate your spiritual senses so that you can value things which are truly valuable in His eyes.
9. Some of our dear friends are struggling right now. No doubt there are those who are beaten down, discouraged, and worn out. Would you like to say anything to lift them up this morning?
—My dear friend, I want to share with you my favorite poem this morning:
Oh, long and dark the stairs I trod,
With stumbling feet to find my God;
Gaining a foothold bit by bit,
Then slipping back and losing it:
Never progressing, striving still,
With weakening grasp and fainting will,
Bleeding to climb to God: while He
Serenely smiled, unnoting me.
Then came a certain time when I
Loosened my hold and fell thereby.
Down to the lowest step my fall,
As if I had not climbed at all.
And while I lay despairing there,
I heard a footfall on the stair,
In the same path, where I, dismayed,
Faltered and fell and lay afraid.
And lo! when hope had ceased to be
My God came down the stairs to me.
(Oswald Chambers, as quoted in Christian Disciplines)
10. Could you please give us your testimony? How did you come to Christ and when? Where has He brought you to and what have you learned along the way? Why do you love Him and live so passionately for Him?
—I was born in a buddhist/shintoist family, and I did not have any knowledge of Jesus Christ until I entered a university in Tokoyo. I was very skeptical toward Christianity, because I had always associated Christianity with Western imperialism and colonialism. I had thought that we should learn from the West, but we should never sell our souls by accepting their religion. It is purely because of His grace that I was brought to Christ from that kind of midset and worldview. (Those who are interested in my detailed conversion testimony, you can read it here: <http://japanesebiblewoman.blogspot.gr/2014/12/my-head-covering-testimony.html>.) Not only did He save me, but He also called me to be a missionary in a far land. Now I am living among the people that I once aboided out of fear. I speak with them in their language, eat with them, cry with them, and pray with them. I see them coming to Christ and being born again. I think this is a bit of heaven. The Gospel of Christ is like a torch. And this torch of testimony is being passed from one faithful soul to another faithful one until Christ comes back. Nothing is as blissful as being a part of this stream of witnessing.
11. Last question! If someone who didn’t know Christ was reading this right now, what would you want to say to them?
—I lived without Christ for 20 years, and now I have lived with Christ fir 16 years. There is a great contrast between the two. The best encounter of my life was my encounter with Christ Jesus. My life has changed forever since then. It has changed me drastically from the inside. Life is no longer empty, because Christ is in me and He is full life. Life is no longer insecure, because Christ is my security and my solid rock. I was seeking something real in my teens. Are you? Are you seeking something? Do you want an unshakable, unchangeable foundation in your life? Dear friend, come to Christ! Seek Him diligently and wholeheartedly. Read the New Testament prayerfully today, and you will taste the sweet communion with Him which no worldly pleasures can offer you.
Thank you. Let us all see each other in His Kingdom one day!
*Most of the pictures were given by courtesy of Kinuko-san. What pictures were not given, those were random off the internet via Google Images. Arigatō, Kinuko-san!