He Shined Our Shoes

“He Shined Our Shoes,” Liahona, Oct. 2022.

Latter-day Saint Voices

He Shined Our Shoes

Paulo’s Christlike service taught me about the gift of the Savior’s Atonement in a way that left a permanent impression upon my soul.

Dress shoes

While I served as a missionary in the Brazil Salvador South Mission, the eight missionaries in our zone usually ate together at the home of Paulo, a member of the Itapua Ward. We would eat with this same family every week on a certain day.

One particular day we were eating in the home of Paulo and his wife and daughter. It had been raining all week, and the streets were filled with rivers of water. Paulo’s home was modest, with a concrete floor that had been worn smooth over time. His family did not have enough furniture for all eight missionaries, so most of us sat on the floor.

Paulo was a convert to the Church who had not had the opportunity to serve a mission. As we finished our meal, he asked where our proselyting efforts would take us that afternoon. We told him we were headed to the mission office for our regular interviews with the mission president.

“Elders,” he said, looking at our mud-spattered shoes, “you cannot go see your mission president with shoes that look like that!”

He went into his bedroom and returned with a nearly empty can of shoe polish. Then he knelt on the floor and began to shine our shoes.

How could this man who had already sacrificed so much to feed eight hungry missionaries each week also shine our shoes? I was one of the last in line, and I resolved to politely decline when my turn came. But when he got to my shoes, I knew that if I rejected his offer, I would be rejecting a sacred gift from a truly humble man.

Because of Paulo’s Christlike service, I feel my heart burn with joy every time I think of him. He taught me about the gift of the Savior’s Atonement in a way that left a permanent impression upon my soul.

Jesus Christ suffered great agony for every individual. When we willingly accept His offering on our behalf, repenting of our sins and following Him, our love for Him grows (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:33). His love for us is fully realized as we accept what He freely gives to all who are contrite and penitent.