A substitute for Bridges

Because they didn’t think there’d be any J-1 students (foreign exchange) coming over this year, the leaders of the Bridges program that always planned fun activities for the young people didn’t plan anything for this year. When I wrote to them and told them that my kids were coming, Janet, the wife of the leadership team (along with Ken – The Bicycle Man), invited us to bring them to their church youth group activities. Tonight was the first one for our “daughters”.

I had told Janet that my truck only has one set of working seat belts, so she offered to go pick the girls up. We met them at the Red Putter miniature golf course.

Hole #1
Still having fun after 17 holes!

After miniature golf, we went back to Janet and Ken’s home with the rest of the group.

The girls played ping pong with a couple of the women from the American group. It was hard keeping the ball going.
Mark played pool with one of the young men.
After the American women moved on, Kader and Aleyna played by themselves and the ball was in play for much longer than before. If this were the Olympics, the Americans would have lost!

Ken was always known as The Bicycle Man around Bridges because he repaired and maintained a fleet of bicycles for the Bridges kids. Apparently that wasn’t the only mechanical thing he did.

This is a machine that spins when you have it in a cool basement on top of a hot cup of coffee!
This is another of Ken’s toys. He said it was an internal combustion engine.
He also fixed an old player piano and has 130 rolls of music for it.
There was pizza for dinner and fellowship along the way!
Ken taught Kader to play his player piano Look, Ma! No hands!
It’s not as easy as it looks. It takes a fair amount of strength to pump the pedals.
Mark was going to pass, but I started a chant that others picked up: Mark! Mark! Mark!… He finally gave it a try!

It was a lot of fun and it was obvious the girls enjoyed themselves. Best of all, they had all the Americans to themselves! Had this been a good year for Bridges, there would have been probably one or two hundred foreign students and the Americans would have been serving rather than getting to know them.

Yesterday, a third young woman from Turkey arrived at the same house as Kader and Aleyna. I think the new person’s name is Busra (pronounced something like BOO-zhra). I had sent word through Kader that she was welcome to come as well, but she’s still suffering from jetlag and wanted to rest up this time. Hopefully, she’ll make it to the next event. I want to meet her as soon as possible.

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