Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Refiner's Fire

Hi family! 

Let me start out by telling you how much I love you all and I'm so grateful for you. 

I've reached a ripe old age of six months on my mission as of Tuesday, and I've learned one important principle that I felt I should share with you: missions are really hard. 

In the church, we talk a lot about "the refiners fire" and how "our needed conversions are often achieved by suffering and adversity rather than by comfort and tranquility." And that's really true! 

Being in the mission field, I feel like I am definitely in the refiner's fire. However, it's a different kind of "hard." 

In life, hard is when you struggle in school, hard is when you struggle with employment, hard is when you break up with someone and when your testimony is shaky. But it seems like being in the refiner's fire is a choice. Because all these challenges are sooo difficult, but it's up to us individually to decide if we will let the Lord make something of us in the mean time. 

We can choose to allow our trials and challenges to overcome us and swallow us up and defeat us. Or we can let go of our need to control and our need to fix and change situations, and allow the Lord to mold us and to shape us. 

That doesn't mean any of this is easy, or that letting the Lord change you is easy. That's why it's called a fire, not a beachside resort. It's not easy, but if we really want to allow the Lord to shape us, we will. 

In the Book of Mormon, Laman and Nephi faced very similar situations. They both left all their possessions behind, they both went with their family to face the dangers of the wilderness, they both struggled to find food and both had to provide for their hungry families, they both had to return to Jerusalem for the plates which Laban had in his possession. But what's the difference? Their attitudes and their faith. Laman complained the whole time about how it was hard. He got angry, he doubted, he didn't believe God wanted him to know anything. Yet Nephi faced the situation with stalwart loyalty to the Lord and regardless of what the circumstances may have been, he always said, in an essence, "Lord, I will go where you want me to go, say what you want me to say, do what you want me to do, and be what you want me to be. It doesn't matter if it's hard, it doesn't matter if my family goes hungry and my very life is put in danger. I will offer up all I can give to you-- my heart and my will-- and be what you want me to be." 

There's a quote that I read this week that explains the way we should face our challenges: "Character is revealed in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress." 

I have learned so much these past few months about the painful process of becoming what the Lord wants me to be.  And I would never change it. Because although it took a lot of hardships, I am so much closer to my Savior. 

A departing missionary recently said, "The joy is in the work." I believe the joy can be in the change if we let it. If we realize all that the Savior is making of us, and thank Him for our challenges and thank Him for the chance to learn, their is joy in the fire, in the hardships, in the pain. 

I love you all and I pray that you grow closer to your Savior each day. I pray that you truly seek Him out through prayer and seek His help. 

Have a wonderful week! 

Sister Abram 


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