“No, I haven’t heard of the Janissaries.”
“Imagine if a terrorist group took over America. After that, they would kidnap our young boys, train them up in a special army, and convert them to the religion of the terrorist group. Once the boys are mature, they join the special army in attacking their home city and capturing more boys. These boys continue the cycle of growing up in the army, converting, and then returning to the home city to capture more boys. After awhile some Americans are able to escape to another country. After the Americans have escaped to the other country, they still miss their old life. They would miss American foods, culture, and the language. These Americans would be appreciative and thankful for the sanctuary of the other country while at the same time missing home.
This is exactly what happened to your friends dad. The Janissaries were a Turkish army who persecuted Greece and other Christians for hundreds of years and did the exact things I mentioned earlier. After awhile some Greeks were able to get away to other parts of the world, but they still miss their home, their culture, and their language. It only takes one generation growing up in America for the young ones to feel at home in a new place, but the elders are still missing their real home back in Greece. I hope the story explains your friend’s dad.”
The compassion and sympathy Mrs. Dorothy now had for her friends family was incredible. I had helped her see why the family acted the way it did. It was the “why” she was missing. I could have shared right doctrine, the triumph of the seven ecumenical councils, or how to obtain the fullness of the faith. I did not do those things because she needed a story to explain why her Orthodox friend (and the family) cared so much for their heritage.
I do not know what will happen now. She asked for my business card and said she might contact me one day. Our conversation moved to less serious matters and after awhile I returned to my book. I consider that flight a success because I listened to my neighbor, helped her have compassion on a friend’s family, and planted a seed of God’s love and compassion. I must trust the Holy Spirit and respect Mrs. Dorothy’s free will at this point, and I am happy to do that.