Helen, Marianela, Sarah, and I have been part of the same Bible study club for over 15 years. We had other members like Leslie but due to busy schedules, and new babies, we are now four. We are E.P.H.O.D. an acronym, for Eucharist Prayers of Holiness, Obedience and Divinity. Ephod was the holy breastplate that Aaron, the High Priest, wore when he went into the Holy of Holies (Exodus 28:6-14).
I am the teacher but each of us has an equally important role in our group. Helen is the reader because she is the best lector in the group, and her Catholic primary education really shines. Helen is also the matriarch of the group and a great example of being a gracious wife. I have learned many life learning lessons from my best friend Helen. Marianela, the rock of the group, is the quiet, private warrior for God, you can rest assured if you have asked her for prayer, she will pray until the Lord releases her from doing so. Sarah is the youngest of the group and is on fire for the Lord. She has a special gift of compassion and she and her husband Jason are always the couple that people look to for direction and prayer.
St. Norbert Church’s program for Adopt a Family for Christmas is always a venture that our Bible study group participates in. I had already selected a family of six for us to share. The following Sunday an announcement was made that there were still 42 families that needed sponsors. While Mike waited for me in the car, I got in line to adopt another family. I almost got out of line twice because I did not want to add to our already busy schedule. Our Bible study meets on Wednesday and all the gifts were due to be turned in on Saturday of the same week. This was the same week of the homeless ministry too, I felt apprehensive as I presented the idea to the ladies. Marianela must have seen the distress in my eyes, because without giving it a second thought she said, “I’ll take the family of six.” Not only did she purchase gifts but gifts cards as well; benevolence like this comes from the heart. Helen, Sarah, and I were responsible for the second family. It was pure joy to take my grandchildren to pick out gifts for a five-year-old girl named Janelly. The boys helped pick out two games and Maddie picked out an outfit. Helen went all out for the eight-year-old boy, purchasing two outfits and toys. Sarah has a teenager in her family, so she is familiar with what a sixteen-year-old needs, and she donated a generous amount of make-up plus clothing. We all pitched in for a gift card for groceries as well.
The Tamale Party was a great success, with Helen taking the well deserved title of “Best Tamales in the World.” Hands down, she makes the best, and as much as we try, she always comes clean to claim her title. I picked several new judges this time around, but the best tamale still won. Father Bruce, from our parish, was the guest judge, and he sees me at daily Mass but I guess that doesn’t count because he didn’t pick my tamales.
Congratulations to Helen! You are a winner in many other areas of your life and much to my chagrin a better tamale maker!