I once met a twenty-year-old man with a strange story to tell. This man's parents and siblings were active in Church service, one of the few families in his area who were. He loved missionary work, having converted to the restored Gospel of Christ when he was a child. When he was eighteen, he filled out and submitted his mission papers, eagerly awaiting his call. Surprisingly, the letter he received in return did not state the area in which he would serve. It said, rather, that the missionary board had received no inspiration to where he should serve. He was told there would be a six month waiting period, at the end of which he should submit again. Again, there was no call and the letter suggested he wait another six months. Shortly before I met him, he tried a third time. This time the letter came back stating that he was fully worthy to serve, but that it was clear the Lord wanted him to serve in his home town. He was ward mission leader.
I found it interesting when reading Alma 31 that Helaman, the one to whom he would give the keeping of the records, did not go on the mission to the Zoramites. Alma left him home. For whatever reason, he was called to serve quietly while his (perhaps) less worthy brothers went to reclaim the apostate Zoramites with their father. I have often felt this way, left behind while others claim blessings and give service in which I long to participate. Not all the places in the garden of the Lord receive as much sunlight as others, but I believe every place has a purpose and adds beauty.
Sometimes it's hard to be asked to wait. It can feel lonely, as if the Lord has no need of you. But I have been promised that the Lord has need for every hand willing to till the earth, no matter how unskilled or inept. Whatever our own personal weaknesses, whatever our private pain, the Lord needs us. We may not all be bishops or Apostles, but the mothers and sisters, fathers and sons, ward greeters and hymnbook-retrievers can all bring beauty and joy to the Lord's kingdom.
That twenty year old man who wanted little more than to serve a mission was one of the best ward mission leaders in that area. His efforts brought more of his friends and others to the gospel of Christ than the missionaries did. He was truly called to serve at home as an instrument in the hand of God, and many were "brought to sing redeeming love" among the disciples of the Most High God.