Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bird Shimai

Cutler shimai and Bird shimai
Dearest KK- 

I know your life is stressful and busy right now, so don't feel obligated to blog.  We all know that I have enough to talk about for the both of us.

It was almost 8 years ago to the day that I arrived in Japan for my mission.  I arrived in the Sendai Japan Mission in March 2003.  Immediately, I met and fell in love with my mission president, President Bird, and his wonderful wife Sister Bird.  They welcomed me warmly and quickly sent me off to preach the gospel in Japan.

At first, I tried with optimism and courage knowing that I would "get the hang" of the Japanese language, culture and church.  Very quickly I became largely discouraged when I realized how difficult Japanese was and how extremely different life in Japan was from home.  

The first 2 areas I served in (Nagamachi and Izumi - which is Sendai) were close to the mission home.  That meant I got to see President and Sister Bird more frequently.  I started to observe their behavior.  Sister Bird was this tall, beautiful and outgoing woman, who did not speak ANY Japanese.  She lit up the room when she walked in.  Japanese members would go up to speak to her in Japanese.  She would smile and nod like she understood them, then just give them a HUGE huge and tell them "Oh, I just love you."  She meant it too.

I realized that Sister Bird was showing love to these people even though she could not speak Japanese.  I knew I needed to be able to love the Japanese people even though I was frustrated with the language.  I was so thankful for Sister Bird's example.  I tried harder to be like her.  There were times when I didn't understand, or didn't know what to do, so I would just give them a big hug and tell them that I loved them in English.  Many times the Japanese person was stunned, because they were not used to being hugged and loved like that.

Sister Bird also has a great sense of humor and I hope she doesn't mind that I share this story.  Sister Bird told me that she went out to lunch with a few Japanese sisters.  She wanted to impress them with a little bit of Japanese, so at the end of the meal she attempted to say,"Onaka ga ippai" (literally my stomach is full).  Only Sister Bird said, "Oppai ga ippai" (literally my breasts are full).  

Sister Bird did not realized the mistake immediately and those sweet sisters muffled a laugh and I think one of them gently corrected.  Sister Bird laughed about it for days.  I love her sense of humor.

Right now I seriously wish I could go to Japan and hug and love all of them.  My heart is broken over the devastation of their beautiful country.  On the day I found out about the earthquake and tsunami, I called Sister Bird.  She was sitting in front of the TV sobbing.  

I know President and Sister Bird love the people of Japan.  I love them too.  I know prayers are being heard and answered for the people of Japan.  Miracles are happening over there, but they still have a long way to go.

May we all unite in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Japan,

-Miss T (Cutler Shimai)


  1. Thanks for this blog even though I hate it when you make me cry.

  2. I love President and Sister Bird as well. Interesting to think that I started of my mission with them as well. I miss them and I miss Japan SO MUCH!

    Thoughts and prayers for the people of Japan.

  3. i have thought so much about you. each time i watch something or hear something about the tsunami and earthquake, my heart aches for you. it is heartbreaking for me to watch . . . i can't imagine how it must be for you! i know you grew to love those people.

    i'm sure they wish you could be there to hug them too!