A few years ago at this time, I was trying to prepare to be a missionary in country I'd never seen before. Now I'm trying to prepare to go back to a life I know very well, but to live it in a whole new way. For me, the call is no longer to do something unusual and dramatic; my call now is to do what is quite ordinary - but with extraordinary zeal and charity, with excellence and sacrifice and cheerfulness - in other words, to embrace the mission of ordinary life with such a generous heart so as to yield thirty, sixty or a hundredfold. I think this was supposed to be my call all along. Only by living temporarily as a "real" missionary did I learn that I had been a "real" missionary all along - I'd simply failed to recognize it. We are all missionaries of the everyday and we are all laborers in the apostolate of the humdrum. Not recognizing this, we fall prey to comfort, to laziness, to timidity, to grumpiness, to pettiness, to materialism....or to dissatisfied restlessness. I speak to so many people who yearn to do something great - to have a vision, a call, a mission - to really contribute. For the most part, the Lord has already placed us exactly where He knows we can have the most impact! Our spouse, our children, our friends, our relatives, our coworkers, our neighbors, our mechanics and hairdressers and plumbers and accountants and physicians - these are the people He has entrusted to us and we have a true purpose to accomplish in our interactions with these people. Our own ordinary life is a place of greatness - here and now - if we can recognize that. Let's aim to yield a hundredfold.
For anyone interested in reading about the more exotic years of missionary living in New Zealand: