Becca McCulloch is a wife, mother, professor, and writer but rarely in that order (if in any order at all). At night, she transitions from mild-mannered educator into mild-mannered artist, writing about LDS (Mormon) issues in a modern and complex world. In 2016, she won the Storymakers’ First Chapter Contest/General Fiction category. In 2019, her novel, Hermana, was named the General Fiction category winner for the LDS Publishers Media Association.
Becca resides in Utah with her husband, 2 children, Great Dane, two cats, and a pesky, yet friendly raccoon that won’t leave the outdoor shed.
WINNER! 2019 general fiction book of the year from the LDS Publishers Media Association.
Bookish and street-smart Lannie Lewis wants to be more than the child of a broken home who flunked out of music school. Full-time mission service will carry her away from the problems with her dad and immerse her hands in the work of God, or, it would if she’d stop hiding in the bathroom and wishing the island had better bug spray. When a disaster transforms her mission into a world of peril and overwhelming need, she will have to learn to hear the Lord’s voice for herself, even if it means she stands against the crowd.
The family agrees to read the Book of Mormon as the thunder rolls in. The single dark cloud blocks the sun and promises rain. Each clap summons watchers with water buckets piled on their heads and tucked under arms.
“You need to go, hermanas. This could be our only water for weeks.” The mother pushes us out the door. Her children grab every bucket, pail and pot in the house.
Pain splits my side as we run up the hill to fetch our pails of water, a funny little reverse of Jack and Jill. My arm aches a bit, too. For the most part, it’s healed. Or I hope it has. Without doctor intervention for weeks, I’m stuck with whatever scar or muscle damage is beneath the bandage Ydria still changes twice a week.
Our shampoo bottles sit beside the house door. Ydria shouts from where she and Tavo wrestle with the water bucket. “Go. Wash your hair. Find a gutter and scrub away those bugs.” Lice and critters that flourish in poor hygiene have left bug bites all over our skin.
The air thickens as the cloud drops. Large drops plop on our backs and shoulders. Then the water falls in glorious sheets over our upturned faces. A true tropical downpour douses the town. For the first time since my arrival, no one runs from the rain. They set their buckets and dance to the rhythm of salvation. Mouths stay open to the sky to drink mana directly from heaven. We run to the gutters we recently installed on businesses around the park.
The water rushes off the beauty shop roof in a harsh, roaring flow. Laughs bubble up along with soap while our fine hair comes clean. We don’t stop at our hair. Mango shampoo strips grime from our arms and legs. The townsfolk point and laugh, but nothing matters except feeling clean again. Then we dance, letting the water sop us to the bone. I whip my hair around in joyful wonder at this unexpected miracle.