Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Teacher Always Learns More Than The Student

For Zone Leaders' Council, I decided to emphasize that we are all fellow servants in the missionary work. So, after my initial message I surprised the missionaries and asked them to remove their shoes, place post-its in the shoes with their names and tie them together. While Diane and the Assistants conducted the rest of the meeting, I polished their shoes. I took them to another room...there were 34 pairs...

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.


  1. Wow Dad that is really neat. And we all know you are good at shining shoes! What a great lesson... for everyone!

  2. You are a class-act, President Heyman. It was the highlight of my missionary's week, as he was the recipient of your goodness.
    Thank you!

  3. I'm going to use this story to the young men today in my lesson on service. Thanks for always teaching by example. I remember this moment like it was yesterday.