Once upon a time there was a young married couple who had just moved into a new apartment. That apartment happened to be 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The couple's church was hosting about 80 middle schoolers from Atlanta who were coming to Charleston to do service projects for the community. The couple's church said they needed host homes, so the couple volunteered to host 2 or 3 youth for the week, knowing it would be a little tight, but they wanted to help and thought it would be fun.A few days before the youth arrived, the couple who had just moved into the apartment found out that they were hosting not 2 or 3 youth but EIGHT youth + a chaperone! After a mild panic attack, the young wife calmed down and realized that middle schoolers can sleep on the floor and share a bathroom. They would be on a mission trip, after all, not a luxury vacation, right? So, the young couple cleaned and prepared their apartment for the arrival of their guests.On Saturday night, they arrived, around 10:30 pm, with lots of suitcases, sleeping bags, pillows, and personality. The neighbors surrounding the apartment surely did not know what hit them when it sounded as if a stampede of elephants was entering the apartment breezeway. The girls shuffled in, and the couple realized there were not eight girls + a chaperon but SEVEN girls + a chaperone, and they breathed a sigh of relief. Every little bit helps, they thought.
Through the week, the girls were wonderful guests. They didn't complain about sleeping on the floor or sharing a bathroom. They were great with the giant dog that lived in the apartment and even took her out to go to the bathroom occasionally. They brought their own breakfast foods, but the young wife made pancakes a couple of mornings and french toast one morning just so they could start the day off with hot breakfasts. They didn't mind that there weren't enough chairs or places at the table. They didn't complain about having to eat on tv trays every morning. All of their other meals were eaten with the big group at other locations.The girls were out and about around town most of the week, but when they were home, they laughed and talked and played games and watched movies in the apartment's theater. They told stories and tried to talk louder than each other so each could be heard. The sweet chaperone would quiet them down, and they would giggle. And they spent lots of time with blow dryers and hair straighteners and changing outfits.All in all, it was a good week. But when the girls and their chaperone left on Friday morning, the young wife let out a sigh of relief. And then started cleaning. And she wondered whether or not she would host 7 middle school girls again. She's still wondering. :)