It is a swelteringly hot summer’s day. The sun is riding high in a pure blue cloudless sky, the temperature and humidity are soaring, and I am at a wedding. I feel for the bride in her beautiful lace layered dress; it’s not the weather for heavy fabric.

This particular bride and groom met in our work place, so I know them both as colleagues, not just as friends. Their guest list is multi-cultural, as they each grew up in other countries. Friends and family, normally scattered around the world, have travelled many miles to be here for this celebration.

Standing in a beautiful garden, a chilled glass of bubbly in my hand, I mingle with guests during the reception. It’s too hot for high heels, so I’ve kicked them off in favour of the feel of bare feet on grass, and I notice I’m not the only one.

I soon strike up conversation with a cross-cultural couple about this blog – and the book I’m currently writing – both of which are following a similar theme. And before I know it, I find myself recalling a ‘light through the cracks’ story from a work trip three years ago, when I was travelling with today’s bridegroom …


… Work has brought me to Bolivia, an impoverished landlocked Latin American country, where I once lived and worked many moons ago. I am here with two colleagues, and we have been travelling for hours along increasingly potholed roads, through stunningly beautiful mountainous terrain. The nearest city is four hours’ drive away.

Our aim is to capture on camera a story of incredible impact – which we hope will inspire other people facing similar situations, in other places, to achieve similar aims. My South African colleague is a professional film-maker; my Ecuadorian colleague knows the community and is our interpreter; and I am chief interviewer. Together, we will craft the story.

It is September, shortly before summer starts in Bolivia … and summer means rainy season. In theory, the rains are meant to come between November and March, sustaining the land for the following seven months. In reality, the rains have not come since the rainy season before last, and we have arrived during a prolonged drought*.

A couple of days into filming, I find myself standing in the middle of a vast dry river bed. It is easily the equivalent width of the River Thames outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, UK. Yet all I can see, in every direction, is brown and barren desert-like land. The ground is an arid dust bowl, parched and thirsty. A handful of hardy trees have dug deep roots and are clinging on for dear life, but much of the greenery is scorched and struggling.


It is hard to believe the vivid descriptions contained in my travel guidebook, which inform me that this place is ‘a lush green valley’.

While my colleagues wander off to film some specific vantage points, I find myself standing alone in the middle of this immense dry river bed, and I instinctively know I need to pray. Raising both arms high into the air, I raise my face up towards heaven, close my eyes, and cry out loud to God:

Oh Lord, please send the rain. This land so desperately needs it. In Jesus’ name, please send the rain. Please don’t send it all at once – or else there will be flooding – but please send the rain. I ask in Jesus’ name.”

My prayer is a desperate plea for a miracle and, eyes still closed, I start to softly sing a simple worship song.

Opening my eyes, I discover that my Ecuadorian colleague is standing within earshot. “I heard you praying and worshipping,” she informs me, “and I said ‘Amen’ to what you were saying.”


Later that evening, we are sitting on the veranda at our guest house when it suddenly starts to rain. Not a simple pitter patter of a few faltering drops. But an almighty thunderous monsoon downpour, which clatters deafeningly onto the corrugated iron roof.

I cannot believe it!

My Ecuadorian colleague looks at me, incredulity evident in her expression. “Wow!” she declares. “You’re like the prophet Elijah!” She pauses a moment, grasping for the right words, so she can express herself in English. “He prayed for the rain to stop, and it stopped. Then he prayed for the rain to come, and it came.”*

Her words are humbling.

From then, until the end of our visit, it rains every evening, and I struggle to comprehend God’s goodness. Why was I not expecting Him to respond when I prayed? 

The community who are hosting us for the filming are equally astonished. “We’ve been praying for nearly two years for rain,” one of them tells us, “and God simply hasn’t sent it.”

“Now it’s raining every evening,” another interjects, “which gives us hope for this coming summer’s rainy season.”

I don’t tell them that I prayed. Only my Ecuadorian colleague was a witness. Instead, I simply thank God for His provision for this people and their land.


* These incidents in the life of Elijah are recorded in the Bible, in the book of 1 Kings, chapters 17 and 18.

[Top photo by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash]
[Panoramic photo my own]



  1. Pingback: How do you feel when it rains? - Joanna Watson

  2. Wow! What an incredible story! I love that you just quietly responded to the nudge to pray and worship. No fuss. No gathering of people together. Just your faith. It’s so encouraging.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thank you Joy! I’m so glad to hear you’ve been encouraged by this story.

  3. Barbara Schultz Reply

    Thank you, Joanna. Our book club has been reading your book and we are praying to see similar miracles to the ones you have seen throughout your life – “light through the cracks”! God bless you.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      How encouraging to hear that your book club is reading my book! Thank you for letting me know – and may God answer your prayers for miracles.

  4. What a wonderful story of obedience and God’s goodness and provision. I love reading your miracle stories. They are so encouraging and I am blessed each time.

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