I changed my clothes and started the task of cleaning, polishing, brushing and shining each pair.
And then something happened. As I picked up each shoe and read the name of the missionary, I thought about each person who had worn the shoe for days and days, and miles and miles, through the dirt and the heat and the mud and the rain. As I did the hours flew by and it did not seem like work at all.
When I was finished I realized how much appreciation and respect I have for these missionaries and what they are doing.
I changed back into my suit and had the shoes lined up in the room where the Zone Leaders' Council was taking place.
I asked each missionary to come forward when I called his name. I asked them not to thank me or hug me but to just come look me in the eye, take their shoes and think about how they felt. I then handed each one his pair of shined shoes. It was a meaningful and powerful moment. When we were finished, I simply said, "We are all fellow servants in this work". And I realized that I had learned more about sacrifice and service than they had.