I still get the weekly emails from my mission president and just read the letter from this week. It is a gem! Had to share it with you. I hope he doesn't mind :)
Dear Elders and Sisters,
Malachi 3:3 says: 'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.' She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?' He smiled at her and answered, ' Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it.' We read Alma 5:14:
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you lookup, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
It is my prayer that we understand that the trials of the mission are the flames that refine us to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. We cannot go through this process without His help. “Through the Atonement we can be freed from the burden of our sins and develop faith and strength to face our trials. As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
We love you all,