The four Papaioannou missionary children wanted a pet for a long time.
They begged for a cat or a dog when the family from their homeland in Greece in Europe to work far away in the Philippines in Asia.
Father was busy teaching at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, and Mother was caring for the four children and studying for a master’s degree in education. Besides, the parents weren’t all that interested in having a pet at home. They didn’t want to feed a cat or clean up after a dog.
“No pets,” Mother said, firmly.
The children knew better than to argue.
After four years in the Philippines, the family moved to a new missionary post in Cyprus, a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea. Father rented a house with a big yard.
The children were now older, and their pleas for a pet grew louder.
“Can we have a cat?” asked the oldest, 12-year-old Revel.
“How about a dog?” said Loukas, who was 11 and the only boy in the family.
“It would be so nice to have a cat,” said 8-year-old Niki.
“Or even a little kitten,” said the littlest, Kellita, who was 5.
Father and Mother hadn’t changed their minds. But amid the chorus of pleas from the children, they were glad to have a good excuse to say, “No.”
“The contract we signed to rent the house says, ‘No pets,’” Father said.
The children, however, weren’t ready to give up.
“Can we pray about it?” asked little Kellita.
“You can pray all you want,” he said, confident that a pet would never join the family.
The children began to pray every evening.
“Dear Jesus, please give us a cat,” said Revel, the oldest.
“Or a dog,” said Loukas, the boy.