I said goodbye to two old friends today... I finally threw away my mission shoes.
I almost couldn't do it. Everyday I'd pass by and see them sitting there - dusty, cracked leather, broken laces and holes worn almost completely through the heels. They'd been sitting in a corner for almost a year now. "I need to throw those away, I'll never wear them again. Why am I hanging on to those shoes?" I would think. I could never bring myself to do it. Those shoes went through everything with me. They sloshed through puddles and tread the stone-laid streets of Cajamarca, filled with sand in San Luis, they ran from dogs, stood on buses, chased after taxis, wore blisters into my feet and endured the hot streets of Pacasmayo, Chimbote, Chepen, Pensacola, and Guadalupe. They left footprints in the wet cement of Trujillo (stepping in wet cement is my favorite thing) as my companion and I proselyted the neighborhoods of Laureles, Palermo and Los Jardines. They sat through conferences and were cleaned up for church every Sunday. They were polished by thoughtful companions, they were re-sewn several times by zapateros. I must have gone through 5 pairs of insoles and shoe laces over those two years.
Those shoes carried me faithfully for thousands and thousands of miles. So many doors, so many faces, so many children of God.
They were on my feet as I had the privilege of teaching the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. As I slipped my old shoes into the trash can, I almost had a lump in my throat. I took one last picture and said goodbye. I hope to always remember:
"My life is like my shoes, to be worn out by service..."
- President Spencer W. Kimball