Ralph Martin is a famous Catholic Charismatic layman, evangelist, theologian, and missionary apostle. Genie and I first met Ralph by providence in a small international airport in Nandi, Fiji, on our way to the Tonga Islands (our first foreign mission destination), in January 1975. We have corresponded and visited with him over the years; he wrote the foreword to Genie’s book, Go! You Are Sent. Ralph always signed off his letters with the exhortation: “Keep on keeping on!” This exhortation is appropriate for any follower of Jesus, but especially for missionaries. In documents setting forth the teaching of the Church on foreign missions, it is repeatedly declared that missionaries must have fortitude; they must persevere and endure many hardships. The missionary life entails renunciation and sufferings. It is a glorious life but not a glamorous one. It can be adventurous and interesting and fun, but it’s not easy. In training new missionaries, Genie tells them, “All it costs is everything!”
Nevertheless, if the Lord is calling you then you should definitely accept His call. Foreign missionary evangelism is the greatest and holiest duty of the Church. It provides a very full, fruitful life, with so many helps for growing in holiness. You can learn so much as a missionary, although it may not be the sorts of things that are rewarded by the world’s financial markets. I have not met anyone who has become a millionaire living among the poor in the missions, nor have I seen missionaries honored in ticker-tape parades. But there are so many spiritual, even heavenly compensations – serving the poor in missions is not glamorous, but it is often glorious and joyful and very satisfying; it all but forces us to seek the Lord and His helps every day, for which we then praise and thank Him.
I hope to die as a missionary, preaching the Gospel and serving the poor with my wife and children and grandchildren, in Family Missions Company, with our missionaries from around the world. Please pray that I will.
St. Paul, after remembering the heroic lives of the saints of old, says: “[S]ince we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Keep on keeping on! Give it all you have. My coach (the Holy Spirit) urges me: “Kick it in! Run the race to the finish!”