(Based on true events)
Audra sat in her rocking chair, the envelope on her lap. The sun danced across her face, in and out, as the scattered clouds hurried toward the mountains. She didn't realize she was crying until a tear dropped onto the envelope; she quickly brushed it away. I never imagined it would be like this. My last child leaving home--my oldest daughter's basement--and me alone.
Her glance moved from the envelope to the framed picture on the small table at her side. Picking it up, she held it to her breast. Oh, Rayce, this isn't how we planned it back then. She set the picture down, remembering how everything in 1946 had been perfect--a nice house, their first child, a baby girl, joining the family, Rayce earning a good paycheck. Life was everything she had ever wanted--except for the fear that it would all end.
When the missionaries came to her door, Audra found the peace she was looking for. She knew her family could last forever. But with the truth, came trials: more children than we had house, a teen pregnancy, financial struggles, and then... Audra shook her head. And then I lost you, Rayce, with our youngest barely three years old.
Looking back down at the envelope in her lap, Audra sighed. It was easier when we faced the hard times together. I know this is the right thing to do; I just have no idea how I'm going to do it. Audra slowly removed the letter and read it again. What had her daughter said when she brought in the mail yesterday and handed her the envelope? 'Surely the Lord will send him to one of the least expensive missions--He knows you're struggles.'
Chad had opened his mission call later that night when he got home from playing basketball with some friends. "Japan?" He looked at his mother and cocked his head.
Audra had smiled at him and patted his hand. "I'm sure you'll fit right in."
"Oh yeah, I'm sure the country is crawling with 6 foot 3 blue-eyed blondes!"
They had talked for nearly an hour before Chad finally decided to go to bed. He was filled with excitement and joy at his opportunity to serve the Lord. Audra had said nothing about the cost.
She refolded the letter and returned it to its envelope. "Japan?" she asked quietly. "One of the most expensive missions? How can I ever afford to send him there, Lord?" Just as she was about to yield to her overwhelming desire to sob, she heard a voice, so much like Rayce's, whisper, "Search the scriptures, Audra; they've never failed you before."
Audra found her Book of Mormon and randomly opened it. Her eyes were drawn to a verse highlighted in red pencil: "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."
As she read, Audra cried, not sobbing tears of despair, but quiet tears of gratitude. This is definitely a trial of my faith. But the Lord has never failed me; always he has been at my side, guiding me and uplifting me, anchoring me to the truth. It may not be easy, but I know somehow we'll make it.