Coffee Break, the ladies’ Bible group at the Christian Reformed Church in Emo, held their season wind-up with a Day of Joy gathering for women at the church sanctuary and fellowship hall.
Guest speaker for the occasion was Ellen Pukalo, a city gal married to a farmer near Beausejour, Man.
With five children, including one who is married, Pukalo shared her life story, focusing on meeting and knowing Jesus Christ through hard work and play, good times and bad, as well as the ordinary and extraordinary experiences that came to her as a challenge believing God spoke to her in every circumstance, regardless of what she had accomplished.
Pukalo considers herself as Mrs. Average, and she came to speak to the ladies of Coffee Break to encourage each one to be that Mrs. Average.
The day started off with the usual morning coffee and muffins, getting acquainted with each other and then getting down to the serious business of listening and learning about the Bible.
Some 80 ladies from the surrounding communities, regardless of their religious affiliation, had the same thought in mind—helping one another to be a better person to their fellow man.
The worship team of Cheryl Hellinga, Geneva Veldhuisen, Carol Kaemingh, Michelle Marinaro, and Elaine Mack presented inspiration through music.
Diane Veldhuisen and Christine Bethune performed a pantomine entitled “Forever” while Betty Esselink led in devotions. A skit, “The Most Beautiful Flower,” was enjoyed by all.
Pukalo had for her topic, “A Patchwork Garden.”
“Christians can be called ‘The People of the Book,’” she noting, adding books are important in her life. One of her earliest memories is going with her father to the library.
Besides her heavenly Father, and husband and kids, Pukalo said there are three passions in her life—books, sewing, and gardening, but the greatest is books.
The Book, and books on sewing technique or garden design, are what make my life go round, she said.
“I am absorbed by the book of life—how it fits pieces together and then how to make them grow,” she noted. “I had the opportunity to tell my story many times and there is not a lot that can be changed.”
Pukalo said how she found God was very special to her but admitted it certainly wasn’t the stuff of great biographies.
I knew God was out there somewhere, I even thought about Him sometimes,” she said. “But I was busy getting on with my life, school, marriage, and babies.
“We later moved onto an abandoned farm south of Beausejour 25 years ago. Ahead I could see hard work, struggle [but] about this time, God was involved in my life and my life has not been the same since,” Pukalo remarked.
Now she is a quilter with a capital Q. A sewer with a capital S, and a fabric collector with not enough storage space. And do you know it is not work, it is sheer pleasure, she reflected.
Like gardens, people also are different and you learn from the Master Gardener that everything is a blessing, and they are there because the Master Gardener is working his His garden.
“The third lesson I’ve learned is that people are like plants, they flourish in the right environment with the right companion,” she said, stressing God had ordinated it to be this way, each one has their place.
“This is my life,” Pukalo said. “I do not think it is any different than yours. Don’t you experience times of hope and joy?
“Now if our hope is based on Jesus’ work at the cross, and if our joy is rooted in a confidence and trust that God is for us, then we can truly be thankful women,
“And my prayer for you is that this is just not a Day of Joy but the beginning of a long season of Joy,” she concluded.