HUG: Hearts United for Generations

February 24, 2009
By Hana Kurihara BRONZE, Huntington Beach, California
Hana Kurihara BRONZE, Huntington Beach, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I remember in December 2006, my family and I were on our way to a new Bible study group. I stared
out the car window as I usually do, but my thoughts were more anxious than my usual daydreams.

HUG was a Bible study formed by a couple of families that grew up together, and one of the families, H..., invited us. My brother, Noah, knew the H... from karate classes from our local
church, which I hardly ever attended. So when I heard we were going to a Bible study with people I
didn't even know, you could imagine my reluctance. 'But I don't even know these people!
Can't you just go?' My mom would just shake her head and say, 'You'll get to know them.
Don't worry! They're all really friendly.'

But I wasn't just worried if they were nice or not, because most people I met were. I was worried
how long it would take me to fit in, learn names, become as close as they were to each other. I was
thoroughly convinced that there was no way I would catch up on all these goals, and forever be the
loner. When we arrived at the H.... house, I was even more intimidated. There were ten other
kids there, all varying in age. They went around introducing themselves: Amanda, Kaitlyn, Jared,
Amanda, Melanie, Rebecca, Deborah, James, Emily, Samantha' I introduced myself, but I doubted
anyone could get it down in one night. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. Everyone seemed to
know my name in under thirty minutes, and they always had perfect manners when speaking to me.
Sadly, I had already called Melanie 'Melody', Jared 'David', mixed up Rebecca and Deborah,
and completely forgotten Amanda's name. There went my first impression.

Then it came time to sit and talk until Bible study started. I could either sit and talk with the
ten-year-old Amandas, or with the 12-year-old Emily and Deborah and the 14-year-old Rebecca. I was
in the in-between ditch that was 11 years old. I didn't know what to do, so I went to Plan B:
Cling to my parents. Of course, they scolded me and told me to go sit the other kids. So, I ended
sitting with the older girls. I remember how Deborah, Rebecca, and I would sit quietly, while Emily
would be constantly coming up with subject matter. I tried to participate in the conversation, but I
always had the feeling I would say something weird. Finally, Emily gave up and said 'Come on,
someone else talk!' I would have, if I wasn't so unsure about who Deborah was and who Rebecca

Thankfully, Bible study started shortly after. We started out with worship, and one of the dads got
out a guitar and everyone sang songs of praise. As we got further and further into the study, I
gradually became more comfortable around the other families. I realized that we were all under one
roof for one purpose: To get closer to God as a group. Once I knew something that we all had in
common, I felt much more determined and welcome. I tried twice as hard to learn names, fit in, and
become as close as I could to them.

Now, after three years, I look forward to each HUG meeting, and seeing some of my best friends. We
went through 6th grade drama together, exchanged White Elephant gifts that were absolute successes,
discussed the books we enjoyed, and my dad even started a men's ping pong club. We introduced them
to Pok'mon, and they introduced me to basketball and camping. They taught us the best card games,
and we taught them how to play video games for two hours straight. I've gone to their families'
plays, volleyball classes, basketball games, church, birthday parties, sleepovers, and even
funerals. We've laughed, cried, and doodled on our papers until you could just barely read the
notes we were supposed to be taking. Even though Noah has quit karate and I'm no longer on the
same team as any of the HUG members, I know that we'll keep growing as friends and devoted

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