Author Topic: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..  (Read 1370 times)

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Offline PrincessMommy

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I've been noticing interesting experiences with my friends who want to visit church with me.  It's not that I have all that many friends who want to come, so when one expresses interest its pretty exciting.  However, I have often found there are more hurdles just to get them to church once they're open to attending in the first place.

Here's been my experience:

1. the first year I was Orthodox my mother-in-law (MIL) said she wanted to come to a Paschal service with me.  I explained that it ran until the wee hours of the morning.  She was completely fine with it-  as she's a night owl.  We made plans to have her spend the rest of the night at our house after the service.  On Palm Sunday she fell down the front porch steps at my SILs house, broke her back and was hospitalized and in recovery for the rest of the year.

2. A good friend said she wanted to visit an Orthodox church "just to see what its like."  She also decided that a Paschal service would be cool.  She never showed up.  When I talked with her a few days later she said she got the worst cold she'd ever had in her life and was laid up for nearly a week.  She did finally visit about a year later.

3.  Recently, a Catholic friend has shown interest in Orthodoxy after reading "Facing East".  We've been trying to connect to go to vespers for a few months...it still hasn't happen.  Finally a few weeks ago she said she wanted to come with me to my parish this Sat. evening .  We set plans and times etc.  She emailed me yesterday.  She was in a "freak" accident on the slopes last week and is bedridden for the next week or so.

Does anyone else have this kind of track record with getting friends to visit church with them?  I *never* encountered this with any of my other church traditions.  I'm beginning to be afraid to ask friends/family to come and see because it may be too dangerous!  ;) 



Online ialmisry

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 03:26:16 PM »
I've been noticing interesting experiences with my friends who want to visit church with me.  It's not that I have all that many friends who want to come, so when one expresses interest its pretty exciting.  However, I have often found there are more hurdles just to get them to church once they're open to attending in the first place.

Here's been my experience:

1. the first year I was Orthodox my mother-in-law (MIL) said she wanted to come to a Paschal service with me.  I explained that it ran until the wee hours of the morning.  She was completely fine with it-  as she's a night owl.  We made plans to have her spend the rest of the night at our house after the service.  On Palm Sunday she fell down the front porch steps at my SILs house, broke her back and was hospitalized and in recovery for the rest of the year.

2. A good friend said she wanted to visit an Orthodox church "just to see what its like."  She also decided that a Paschal service would be cool.  She never showed up.  When I talked with her a few days later she said she got the worst cold she'd ever had in her life and was laid up for nearly a week.  She did finally visit about a year later.

3.  Recently, a Catholic friend has shown interest in Orthodoxy after reading "Facing East".  We've been trying to connect to go to vespers for a few months...it still hasn't happen.  Finally a few weeks ago she said she wanted to come with me to my parish this Sat. evening .  We set plans and times etc.  She emailed me yesterday.  She was in a "freak" accident on the slopes last week and is bedridden for the next week or so.

Does anyone else have this kind of track record with getting friends to visit church with them?  I *never* encountered this with any of my other church traditions.  I'm beginning to be afraid to ask friends/family to come and see because it may be too dangerous!  ;) 
Satan doesn't like such things.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline KBN1

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 04:42:02 PM »
I haven't had anyone break their back.  I do know a number of people who have expressed interest in attending, but then have little or no follow through.  I wouldn't read too much into it.  There are plenty of people who break their back, get sick, and have accidents that have never once thought about walking into a church, Orthodox or otherwise.

Offline FormerReformer

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 05:15:00 PM »
I haven't had anyone break their back.  I do know a number of people who have expressed interest in attending, but then have little or no follow through.  I wouldn't read too much into it.  There are plenty of people who break their back, get sick, and have accidents that have never once thought about walking into a church, Orthodox or otherwise.

Ah, but as the wise Bond villain once said: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence.  The third time it's enemy action."
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

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Offline KBN1

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2011, 05:27:09 PM »
I haven't had anyone break their back.  I do know a number of people who have expressed interest in attending, but then have little or no follow through.  I wouldn't read too much into it.  There are plenty of people who break their back, get sick, and have accidents that have never once thought about walking into a church, Orthodox or otherwise.

Ah, but as the wise Bond villain once said: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence.  The third time it's enemy action."

Ha.

In case you are serious:  I don't see the use in declaring that it is all the devil's fault on an internet forum.

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2011, 05:35:25 PM »
I believe the best thing to do is keep inviting those who are interested to come, making ways to get them there eventually. If it is Satan keeping them away through such misfortunes, it is best simply to ignore his efforts and continue striving for Christ.

I believe this is a good basic rule concerning all "coincidences," whether they be good or bad. This way, Satan will not be able to tempt you through manipulating circumstance. As Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain would say, "If it is God trying to get your attention, he'll find another, more obvious, way to do it."
"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Offline Maria

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 05:46:36 PM »
I've been noticing interesting experiences with my friends who want to visit church with me.  It's not that I have all that many friends who want to come, so when one expresses interest its pretty exciting.  However, I have often found there are more hurdles just to get them to church once they're open to attending in the first place.

Here's been my experience:

1. the first year I was Orthodox my mother-in-law (MIL) said she wanted to come to a Paschal service with me.  I explained that it ran until the wee hours of the morning.  She was completely fine with it-  as she's a night owl.  We made plans to have her spend the rest of the night at our house after the service.  On Palm Sunday she fell down the front porch steps at my SILs house, broke her back and was hospitalized and in recovery for the rest of the year.

2. A good friend said she wanted to visit an Orthodox church "just to see what its like."  She also decided that a Paschal service would be cool.  She never showed up.  When I talked with her a few days later she said she got the worst cold she'd ever had in her life and was laid up for nearly a week.  She did finally visit about a year later.

3.  Recently, a Catholic friend has shown interest in Orthodoxy after reading "Facing East".  We've been trying to connect to go to vespers for a few months...it still hasn't happen.  Finally a few weeks ago she said she wanted to come with me to my parish this Sat. evening .  We set plans and times etc.  She emailed me yesterday.  She was in a "freak" accident on the slopes last week and is bedridden for the next week or so.

Does anyone else have this kind of track record with getting friends to visit church with them?  I *never* encountered this with any of my other church traditions.  I'm beginning to be afraid to ask friends/family to come and see because it may be too dangerous!  ;)  




Have you talked with your priest?

Whenever you invite someone, it is always a great idea to ask your priest for prayers of protection.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 05:47:08 PM by Maria »
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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2011, 05:47:54 PM »
I haven't had anyone break their back.  I do know a number of people who have expressed interest in attending, but then have little or no follow through.  I wouldn't read too much into it.  There are plenty of people who break their back, get sick, and have accidents that have never once thought about walking into a church, Orthodox or otherwise.

Ah, but as the wise Bond villain once said: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence.  The third time it's enemy action."

Ha.

In case you are serious:  I don't see the use in declaring that it is all the devil's fault on an internet forum.

I'm half serious.  It would be one thing if it were just someone who was mildly interested and then just backed out (maybe had to do their hair that day or something).  It would be one thing if just person she invited got injured.  But three people getting laid out right before they were supposed to go... well, I won't make a declaration it's all the devil's fault on an internet forum....

But I'll sure post a humorous movie quote implying it.
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline quietmorning

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2011, 05:53:12 PM »
There have been times in my own life when I was not walking as I should and had fallen into sin and the doors were 'closed' to me.  St. Mary of Egypt had the same issue.  He brought me back from that place, though - and pulled me in with His people when I was prepared. . .when He brought me to repentance.  

Sometimes it's not the evil one that keeps us from getting there, but our own arrogance and choices that keep us from getting there.  It's in His mercy that we are not permitted less something worse happen to us.  
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 05:54:00 PM by quietmorning »
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Offline WetCatechumen

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2011, 07:48:48 PM »
I've been noticing interesting experiences with my friends who want to visit church with me.  It's not that I have all that many friends who want to come, so when one expresses interest its pretty exciting.  However, I have often found there are more hurdles just to get them to church once they're open to attending in the first place.

Here's been my experience:

1. the first year I was Orthodox my mother-in-law (MIL) said she wanted to come to a Paschal service with me.  I explained that it ran until the wee hours of the morning.  She was completely fine with it-  as she's a night owl.  We made plans to have her spend the rest of the night at our house after the service.  On Palm Sunday she fell down the front porch steps at my SILs house, broke her back and was hospitalized and in recovery for the rest of the year.

2. A good friend said she wanted to visit an Orthodox church "just to see what its like."  She also decided that a Paschal service would be cool.  She never showed up.  When I talked with her a few days later she said she got the worst cold she'd ever had in her life and was laid up for nearly a week.  She did finally visit about a year later.

3.  Recently, a Catholic friend has shown interest in Orthodoxy after reading "Facing East".  We've been trying to connect to go to vespers for a few months...it still hasn't happen.  Finally a few weeks ago she said she wanted to come with me to my parish this Sat. evening .  We set plans and times etc.  She emailed me yesterday.  She was in a "freak" accident on the slopes last week and is bedridden for the next week or so.

Does anyone else have this kind of track record with getting friends to visit church with them?  I *never* encountered this with any of my other church traditions.  I'm beginning to be afraid to ask friends/family to come and see because it may be too dangerous!  ;) 
Satan doesn't like such things.
Or God is trying to prevent them.

Or it could be a coincidence.

We must look at all the options.
"And because they have nothing better to do, they take cushion and chairs to Rome. And while the Pope is saying liturgy, they go, 'Oh, oh, oh, filioque!' And the Pope say, 'Filioque? That-uh sound nice! I think I divide-uh the Church over it!'" - Comrade Real Presence

Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2011, 09:11:53 PM »
I haven't had anyone break their back.  I do know a number of people who have expressed interest in attending, but then have little or no follow through.  I wouldn't read too much into it.  There are plenty of people who break their back, get sick, and have accidents that have never once thought about walking into a church, Orthodox or otherwise.

oh yeah, I've had several people express an interest too without follow through.  This just seems different.

Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2011, 09:13:29 PM »
There have been times in my own life when I was not walking as I should and had fallen into sin and the doors were 'closed' to me.  St. Mary of Egypt had the same issue.  He brought me back from that place, though - and pulled me in with His people when I was prepared. . .when He brought me to repentance.  

Sometimes it's not the evil one that keeps us from getting there, but our own arrogance and choices that keep us from getting there.  It's in His mercy that we are not permitted less something worse happen to us.  

hmm... now that is an interesting possibility. 

One thing for sure... it makes me realize the need to pray for inquirers.

Offline laconicstudent

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2011, 09:25:40 PM »
It is interesting how things start interfering when you are trying to go to liturgy.

Weirdest one was when I was going out the door, at 8:30 AM, and suddenly there was an overwhelming smell of delicious onion rings. (??)

In an urban college neighborhood.

At 8:30 AM.

It was raining.

Nobody else was awake.


Offline Maria

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2011, 09:42:47 PM »
It is interesting how things start interfering when you are trying to go to liturgy.

Weirdest one was when I was going out the door, at 8:30 AM, and suddenly there was an overwhelming smell of delicious onion rings. (??)

In an urban college neighborhood.

At 8:30 AM.

It was raining.

Nobody else was awake.



:D

I have smelt the undeniable odor of church incense, but never that of onion rings.

Hey, onions emit a sulfur odor (just like the devil).
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 09:43:27 PM by Maria »
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Offline Thankful

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2011, 02:52:45 AM »
One thing for sure... it makes me realize the need to pray for inquirers.

This is what I was thinking when I started reading this thread, PrincessMommy. There have been some pretty cool discussions on the WTM boards this week, including ones about Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, and I have been PM'ing or emailing with 7-8 different ladies who are feeling drawn to the EO church, several of whom say they are *going* to go to a service soon. I am now going to be praying not only for them to see when they "come and see," but for their protection as well as they attempt to just get there! (One gal was going to make a four hour drive tomorrow with her husband and kids -- they were all ready, with clothes picked out and lunches made -- when her dh's boss' son died and now they have to help attend to that; she says it might be Lent before they can try again.)

I think I'll also ask our priest for his prayers for me, as suggested above. Which might be a wee bit awkward, because he has kind of said he doesn't see the value in these types of internet discussions/relationships.   [Not sure which smiley to put here.]
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 02:57:59 AM by Thankful »

Offline myrrhbear

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2011, 10:57:45 PM »
Hi, Princessmommy, I've seen these types of things happen, too, even with parishioners who try to get to liturgy. I agree and will echo what others have said. Whenever you have invited someone to come to liturgy, pray for them! Pray them into the church, through the door! We were expecting a visitor today who never made it and I'm very curious why.
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Offline quietmorning

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2011, 11:09:48 PM »
This morning I went, for the first time, to a prayer service before Matins - specifically for preparing for Holy Communion.  I was up in plenty of time, was ready in plenty of time and . . .wouldn't you know it?  I COULD NOT find my shoes!! I NEVER lose my SHOES!!  So, I put on another pair of shoes and ended up looking like Carol Burnett dressed as the mop maid - **chuckles** but by goodness I was THERE and I was able to pray to be prepared for Holy Communion . . .and my socks were totally knocked off with the wonderful depth of worship and sacredness of Holy Communion. 

When I got home?  They were right were I left them in plain sight.   

Go figure.

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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2011, 09:46:58 AM »
I've been noticing interesting experiences with my friends who want to visit church with me.  It's not that I have all that many friends who want to come, so when one expresses interest its pretty exciting.  However, I have often found there are more hurdles just to get them to church once they're open to attending in the first place.

Here's been my experience:

1. the first year I was Orthodox my mother-in-law (MIL) said she wanted to come to a Paschal service with me.  I explained that it ran until the wee hours of the morning.  She was completely fine with it-  as she's a night owl.  We made plans to have her spend the rest of the night at our house after the service.  On Palm Sunday she fell down the front porch steps at my SILs house, broke her back and was hospitalized and in recovery for the rest of the year.

2. A good friend said she wanted to visit an Orthodox church "just to see what its like."  She also decided that a Paschal service would be cool.  She never showed up.  When I talked with her a few days later she said she got the worst cold she'd ever had in her life and was laid up for nearly a week.  She did finally visit about a year later.

3.  Recently, a Catholic friend has shown interest in Orthodoxy after reading "Facing East".  We've been trying to connect to go to vespers for a few months...it still hasn't happen.  Finally a few weeks ago she said she wanted to come with me to my parish this Sat. evening .  We set plans and times etc.  She emailed me yesterday.  She was in a "freak" accident on the slopes last week and is bedridden for the next week or so.

Does anyone else have this kind of track record with getting friends to visit church with them?  I *never* encountered this with any of my other church traditions.  I'm beginning to be afraid to ask friends/family to come and see because it may be too dangerous!  ;) 
Satan doesn't like such things.
Or God is trying to prevent them.

Or it could be a coincidence.

We must look at all the options.

There is no such thing as coincidence. Have you ever seen the exercism of Emily Rose and what happened with some of the defendants at the court case? Things happen for a reason.

And so I would say pray and fast for your friends if they are having a hard time attending.
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Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: Strange coincidences with friends wanting to visit church with me..
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2011, 07:28:15 PM »
I won't go into the details but basically, yes, on a major scale.