PART 2: STEP UP
Realistically, I didn’t have any idea what it meant to be a kuya. I mean, I’m the youngest of four siblings. My relationship with my brother wasn’t that great when I was a kid. My elder sister was too busy with her teenage puppy loves and the 80’s pop music. As for the other sister? I was too busy competing with her.
It was when I discovered the youth ministry where the meaning of kuya and ate changed for me. While such honorifics were popular in school and the neighborhood, somehow the term felt different inside the church. It felt more real. More sincere. More powerful.
I grew up in the faith surrounded by more kuyas and ates than my peers. Despite being called the youth ministry, half of the time we hang out together with young adults from our church. They would play chess, Scrabble and Word Factory with us. They’d treat us out for snacks (especially since most of us had limited budget). They would tell stories, share jokes, teach tricks, play pranks, sing songs, and sneak off with the church coffee with us (during the service!) They were the most comfortable sight to see inside the church.
Looking back, I see their reflection in my own life and ministry as well. How I treat the youth today seems to be a blend of all the fond memories I have. Yes, those young adults during my adolescence were not perfect Christians. I am not, either. But I feel proud that because of them, I have discovered the joy of being a kuya.
And it’s my turn now to pass on the passion which started with the original Kuya.
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