Sometimes You Have to Knife Your Way Out

Last year was a year of death. This year was a year of birth. Healthiest financial year since 2005. I took on zero new debt and I paid some of my debts off. 2008, to sum it up, started out nasty and frustrating. It’s ending sweet and fairly collective, all things considered. I mean I have a long way to go, and tough times ahead, very tough times, but I’m smiling. I’ve signed on 30 new clients this year. If their businesses succeed then I’ll get a share of that.

I grew more in my faith this year than any other year I can remember. Sundays at church, Mondays at church, Tuesdays doing homeless outreach, Wednesdays at small groups (or the movies), Thursdays doing outreach, Fridays at the movies. And of course Saturday is laundry day.

Let’s not forget many many outreach nights where we fed the homeless, chatted with young and elderly people and won over people for Jesus in downtown Toronto. We reached over 6,000 people with the gospel this year on a very personal one on one level. Think about that number for a moment. We talked to 6,000 people about Jesus. Gave out 2,000 meals. Remember that giant thanksgiving day outreach for the community? 650 meals at least, many children. Many smiles.

Christmas evening David, Ryan and Kendra came with me to downtown Toronto and we brought Christmas presents to a teen homeless shelter.

2008 was a year of new things for me. New horizons and new visions and sharp correction.

I lost 3” off my waist! I read lots and lots of books. Is there a way to get paid for reading books? I remember running like mad to catch the bus in blizzards and rainstorms. Many of them would be late or out of service or completely packed. I remember being frustrated and biting down on my teeth. I remember amazing times of peace and tranquillity, praying silently when I had no words. I remember my tears. My many many tears.

A thought about myself. I know people who have grown up in the faith. With parents, grandparents, extended family, family gatherings, Christmas’s, a home, money, wisdom that comes from knowing Jesus, a church, faithful friends. They didn’t have the troubles that come from not knowing Jesus. They have what I call the perfect life. No I don’t mean they don’t have troubles. I mean they just have so much more than everyone else right from the start while people like me have to spend the first half of our lives trying to catch up.

I often wonder about those people, so well adjusted and with a smile on their face. I didn’t really have any of those things but I sure do want it for my children. If my kids can’t have it then at least many thousands of other kids will through the missions work I’ve been doing since 1997.

Mr. Chong has a good home now. He came out to visit us on December 25th 2008, our Christmas evening outreach. He knew just where to find us as and opened up his winter parka to show me my (I mean his) fall jacket. He gave me a pat on the shoulder and a big smile. He’s still in my prayers and close to my heart. I have more than 20 positive updates like this from this year alone. Hundreds more positive updates like this since 1997.

Back in grade 4 or 5 my teacher Mr. Wood got frustrated with me, my performance was poor. I was receiving hard daily beatings at home while still earning money to support my family. 5 days a week was school plus work (delivering papers, babysitting, door to door candy sales etc) then the weekends was work work work. On weekends my parents would have the wildest and noisiest parties on the block, making it hard to sleep, and let’s not forget the weekly police visits. Because of this my reading was way behind, not to mention spelling, writing, etc, etc.

I guess the school didn’t know what to do with me so they placed me into the special needs class. I’m not talking about ESL (English as a second language) because I did that when I came to Canada and finished in grade 3. Even though my first and only language was English. I’m talking about the actual special needs class for people with severe mental or physical disabilities. It was very uncomfortable for me. There was a large black girl who wore a helmet and would bang her head against the concrete block wall all day. The other classes in the school could clearly hear the banging. Another boy would be completely silent and then break out in violent fits. That kid would get me into all kinds of trouble, I would be by myself in a corner of the room and he would walk over to me and start screaming or making noise, implicating me in his crazy behaviour. Other children were sweet and friendly. Some were in wheelchairs, others I think should have been in institutions for the violently insane. Maybe I myself should have been in one of those institutions. After a while of this class I decided it was time to gather up my strength and get the hell out of there for good, my main fear being that the black girl with the helmet would one day go crazy and kill us all. She was enormous and very frightening. I begged and begged for them to put me back in the normal class with my friends, I promised to work harder than ever but my pleas fell on deaf ears.

I felt absolutely defeated while walking home every day. To this day I don’t think my parents know or care that this ever happened.

One day during class I was playing at the water bin. It was a white plastic bin, shaped like a deep pool table, child sized. It was filled with water and different objects. I called over the boy who was always getting me in trouble, and waited till the class was fairly quiet. I pinched his arm so hard I thought flesh would come off it. He screamed so loud and started going so crazy that the teacher couldn’t contain him. She had to call emergency help from our principal, who heard him scream from downstairs. He grabbed him kicking and screaming and took him out of the class (the entire class went wild, think of a zoo gone wild or a prison riot). When the teachers talked about it they knew very well that I planned my escape from the class and agreed that I was smart enough to be in the regular school program.

So that was it for me. They kicked me out of the special needs class and I was placed back into normal classes. I learned a lesson: Sometimes you have to nice your way out of a situation, and sometimes you have to knife your way out of a situation.

That day I walked home, smiling the entire way.

Limited Power Supply

Last night I got a boost of energy and I drove around trying to do my errands. It doesn’t matter how early I wake up or how late I go to do my errands, there’s always been a problem during this month of December. The line ups are insurmountable. Wal Mart must be making record revenues because there isn’t even walking room in the stores during some hours. I called around many different stores and a Wal Mart in Square One had tires in stock. Not winter tires mind you but whatever, I don’t care anymore, I just need any kind of tires on my car. The ones I have are paper thin and it’s been an amazing miracle from Jesus that they’ve lasted this long.

I had to save up for 10 months to actually get these tires, so glad to mark it off my to do list.

Unfortunately wal mart wasn’t taking anymore appointments for the day so I had to drive (in nasty traffic) to other wal marts and tire places, all that were not taking anymore clients.

So early this morning I woke up and I thought “TODAY I WILL GET THESE BLOODY ERRANDS DONE FINALLY”. But no, the power instantly went out across the neighbourhood and so I was limited in what I could do at home. You know laundry, cleaning, even making myself a cup of coffee. SO I got into the car and head out to do some outside errands.

Now all the snow, and we had lots the last week – was melted. Today we are having strong wind storms, with 60km winds and wind gusts of 80km according to CityTV.

Luckily Wal Mart had power, and they installed my tires. I ate some breakfast, did some errands, not all mind you, because again – the line ups are simply silly. Is there really a recession? People are spending like their money grows on trees. Or maybe everyone is like me, trying to get their piled up errands done.

Anyway, it took about 3.5 hours to do like 2 errands, I’m not kidding. I couldn’t even put the windshield washer in the car because the wind would simply spray it away instantly.

Anyway, I’m back home now with a cup of coffee and the power is back on and I’m sure I can do a lot more.

Anyway, I’m just really thankful to have new tires on the car. I still can’t believe how long it took to save up, and they aren’t winter tires like I wanted, but they are new, and I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I still have to do an oil change, breaks, fix the antenna, secure the stereo, but that can wait till next year.

A Few More Days Left In 2008

The past 10 days the weather has been nasty, harsh snow storms and bad schedules have put me behind on some of my errands. Not a lot mind you – but just enough to frustrate me. I need ink for my printer, however everywhere is out of stock, I need a 2009 desk calendar but Staples is always close when I am able to get there. Wal Mart had them yesterday but the line up was about 75 people long, and the cashier seemed to not even speak or understand English.

I need tires for my car, but every store is either out of stock, or I can’t get a hold of anyone on the phone so I can’t even find out. Last night I drove around for hours to different stores trying to find these items with no luck.

An Asif Zamir Christmas

Best Christmas ever. No, I didn’t get any ‘presents’ like you’d think. I didn’t have a tree or decorations or even Christmas dinner. I rarely ever do. I just don’t care about those things.

Yesterday, aka Christmas day of 2008 I woke up, drank my coffee, prepped my schedule and went out to do my Christmas day prayers. It took me about an hour to pack up all the gifts my friends, family and church donated, about 200+ fantastic gifts in all. Clothing, books, personal items, toys, stuffed animals, nic nacs, video games, board games, you name it, really nice stuff.

I drove to David’s house first. I haven’t had a conversation with David in over 6 months. Time flies by and we haven’t had those Wednesday night bible studies like we used to. We drove up and picked up Ryan, who had even more presents, even though we didn’t have the room to hold them. Finally we picked up Kendra and went to the church. You should have seen the car, I should have taken a picture. We all had presents piled on us and around us, even around our feet. If you were just passing by you wouldn’t know there were people in the car, just beautifully wrapped presents.

We had some good conversations in the car. Kendra was thankful that she still lives with her parents, things are well for her. She’s job hunting for an office job and I told her that it would be in her best interests to hit the library and start reading up about business, office work, administrative assistant type work. Ryan is looking for an apartment because where he lives right now is dampening his spirit.

We left for downtown around 7pm, and got to the Covenant House around 7:45pm. We spent time there with the staff members chatting with them and finding out about what we can do in the future. One suggestion was we could perform a church service for their 100 youths (not that they can promise that anyone would show up). I think it’s a great idea and I’ve begun to pray about it. Taking the church service right to the people, instead of expecting the people to show up, I like this idea. The staffs eyes lit up and they told us how their care closet was empty (they showed it to us, it was really empty) and because of that some of their youths would go without this Christmas – but not anymore. Nothing brings me more joy than to do something like this every Christmas.

Around 8:30 we left to go park in our ‘normal’ spot. We walked around the square and stopped at Timothy’s coffee house to get some beverages and to warm up. We walked back to the car and then met another church group and started our trek to minister to the homeless at Toronto City Hall. Richard was our only regular homeless friend that night, we didn’t see Billy or Cubby or anyone else. We saw new people though. Richard (who has no legs and lives on his wheelchair in the brutal cold) told us how a family picked him up and he had Christmas at their house. He showed us the presents he received from them including a portable dvd player.

I drove everyone home, and then I drove home, actually, first I drove around town for about an hour, got some pizza even. I turned off my stereo because I was happy about the best Christmas ever.

It’s Going To Be A Good Christmas

Last night we had 35 people at our young adult Christmas party. 6 people brought gifts for me to give at our Christmas outreach, the 6 of them brought a lot of stuff which is awesome cause I’ve been begging. At this time I have a full mini-van load worth of gifts. Ryan and Kendra will be coming with me, and about 5 others have expressed interest but we don’t have the rides for them unfortunately.

I love the winter and the holiday season.

22 Kids At The Children Christmas Party

The children party went well last night. We had 22 children and some of their parents. Lot’s of delicious snacks, presents, games, stories and crafts. There were two little angels with glasses that I loved the most, they were probably 5 years old each and very shy and smiling at me all the time. I worked hard to get things setup and to make sure each child had a good time. Getting there was tough because of the snow storm. Cleaning up after children is a mission on its own, they manage to smush cookies into everything. An observer walked up to me during story time and thanked me, saying that these children usually do not have a Christmas and if it wasn’t for us they’d miss out again this year. As long as I’m alive, the children around me will always have a nice Christmas.

Jesus Explains These People Will Go To Hell

Lazy. Slothful. People who are Christians, yet don’t have their priorities straight. A bit into this and a bit into that and not good at anything in particular. If God asked them to do something they would be too busy doing nothing.

Tummy Ache

Last night it was just Jamie, Rob and myself at homeless outreach. It was bitterly cold and we were discouraged because of that and our small numbers. We ran out of both food and supplies within minutes and people were begging us for more.

Mr. Chong got an apartment with friends for now, I hope he moves up from now on. Billy is back living in that abandoned wheelchair lift, him and Richard in the wheelchair are apartment hunting separately. Billy never complains, he was happier about his home in the tiny 4×4 foot wheelchair lift than most people are in their 4 bedroom 3 bathroom 2 garage homes.

After we went to do our evangelism and we left early, 9:45pm. I ate too much junk food. A rice crispie square, quarter pounder with cheese, medium fries, honey mustard sauce and 4 slices of that fancy bread that I rarely eat. Ooops. I really felt it afterwards.

I Do It Because

On Sunday Leslie asked me a question I couldn’t answer due to time constraints, she asked how I got such a heart for serving. I think there are a few reasons. First of all when I was growing up my parents raised me that way. I was always in the habit of giving away all (I mean all) of my possessions to others (not always by choice). If some other child was in need, mom or gramma would take my things and give them away. Be it a toy, or clothing or my most prized possessions such as my transformers wrist watch. Many times my bedroom would be empty and I knew that whatever little I had was being enjoyed by people who had nothing. Not that we had much, we were pretty poor ourselves.

All of my money always went to my family for our expenses and these days to missions work – so serving became natural. Mom would volunteer me many times to help other people, even when I needed help myself.

As I grew older mom would ask me to help people as much as possible. One time we were in the car driving down Goreway drive and a man in a wheelchair at Westwood Mall couldn’t get onto the sidewalk because it wasn’t wheelchair accessible. Everyone was just walking right by him giving him no acknowledgement. I ran across the street and helped him across the road onto the sidewalk. I can’t remember his name but he said he would never forget me. Mom was the one who ordered me to help him, yet I feel that I was the one who got the benefit.

When I got saved I just jumped right into serving. Children’s church, youth, young adults, food bank, outreach, evangelism, missions, general church you name it. Shovelling snow, cleaning the building, errands, volunteering a day here and there, volunteering a day a week, 2 days a week, 4 days a week, and now 5 to 6 days a week.

My mom got saved, sis got saved, different family members got saved. God gave me a heart for ministry, really caring about getting people saved and delivered. I wanted everyone to know Jesus. I still do. When I go to a church, even a new church for the first time, people are usually drawn to talk to me, vent to me and tell me all of their problems. Even just doing my day to day errands it’s not unusual for strangers to chat me up and tell me their life story. (It’s a good thing, just makes me late for almost every appointment I have). But it makes me think God built me this way.

Today my passion burns stronger than ever and I have experience and a little more wisdom on the subject of giving and serving. I’ve given many times when I had nothing to give. I’ve given out of my rent money, food money, vacation money. I’ve given more than I had. I’ve borrowed to give. I’ve given of my time, my energy, sometimes of my sanity. I’m always keeping my ears open to see if someone needs help and I always think “maybe I can do something.” Of course sometimes all I can do is offer my prayers and encouragement.

It’s still a difficult question to answer though – how did I get such a heart for service. I do it because it makes me feel good. I do it because God says it’s the right thing to do. I do it because it’s natural for me to do. I do it because I can’t help but to not do it. I do it because it makes me feel like I’m showing love to God. I do it to show God that His work in me is not for nothing.

40 People For Dinner

These past few weekends I’ve rested. I mean rested from work. I still do a lot of chores and errands. Endless endless errands.

Last night 3 of my guests cancelled out on dinner so I drove up to Kendra’s and we started our trip down to the restaurant. I asked her how come she can come to all the dinners but not always the community service and she laughed as if I was joking. Any way it was raining and I like that.

We got to the restaurant, there were about 40 of us in all. I sat beside Leslie who lives in Aurora. She works at a Christian company that takes care of the disabled. She earns a decent salary. Has a big family. Does a gift exchange for Christmas instead of buying hundreds of gifts. She tried some of my fish and chips and I tried some of her steak and I realized I should have ordered the steak. Dinner was super delicious.

Anyway, we did a gift exchange, you know that game where you choose a gift or steal a gift from someone else. I hate the game but whatever. Well I brought a bamboo plant, in a very nicely decorated pot. A small child, a girl asked for it at the end of the evening and of course it was given to her. I got a bag of gum and a coffee mug, I gave it to Kendra, I would never use it.

It was fun to have fun time with everyone. You know we weren’t talking business or ministry or anything like that (for the most part) I mean we mentioned stuff here and there but we were really just having a good time. For the last few years we’ve just been feeding the homeless and talking to people about Jesus and we haven’t had much time to just be friends.

Of course today it’s back to work. I’m prepping to chat with the young adults about outreach opportunities tonight and try to get the lazy bums motivated for something other than free food. Have I mentioned I hate young adults?


I worked during the day, got a good amount done. I got downtown early, heading out to do some errands, which I hate to do downtown because the city makes little sense. Canada Post’s website said the Canada post at Eaton Centre would be open until 9pm, but I got there at 735pm to learn that they closed at 730, so I had to go to money mart to make a money order, then a different place for an ATM, and then walked around the city looking for a Canada post – of course couldn’t find one and nobody I asked knew where there was one, not even a worker at the Closed Canada post location in Eaton Centre. Frustrating.

I walked back to the cars, we met our team (which seems to be getting smaller and smaller each week as it gets colder) and we started our mission. We chatted with Richard, our friend in the wheelchair. He lost his wife and daughter a few months ago, and then a few weeks after that lost his legs. We met Billy, a tall and slender young man who is always grateful for the supplies and food we give him. We promised him socks for next time. I’ve put it on my calendar so I won’t forget. Mr. Chong was nice and full, Cubby was drunk out of his mind and didn’t even notice us despite my calls to him. And that was it. It looks like we brought way too much food in-fact. That’s a first. We walked over to our evangelism spot to meet our Mennonite friends. It’s so delightful to have them there with us while we evangelize. It was a good night, we handed out probably 500 gospel flyers and we talked to some people about Jesus.

It’s Amy’s last Thursday with us until March of next year. How sad. I’ll see her once more for dinner on Sunday and then that’s it, she’ll fly out. First Manitoba then an orphanage in the Philippines. It’s nice to have your friends close by while you do ministry. On the way back home I stopped at Macdonalds, cheating on my diet. I regretted it afterwards because I’ve been eating so healthy and putting all that trash in my tummy made me feel awful. It’s like eating crap.

Progress Starts On The Inside

I’m not so far off as I thought. I mean, I’m not missing out on as much as I thought I was. My friends, whether married or single are all going through similar things in one way or another. Yes there is the seemingly blessed person who has it all and all together and not a problem in the world, but I’ve learned that that’s short lived and far from God.

Another thing I realized is this year is different from last. I have a little bit of money this year. I have a car, a home, I have nice prospects actually. In fact, my prospects are immeasurably better than last year. Work is going much better, normal and fairly stable.

Last year when Dave visited here from Nova Scotia, he wanted to go out for dinner and I was flat broke. This year we had a good dinner together.


I like Saturdays. I wake up, jog, pray, read the paper (yes, I read the paper), eat a good breakfast. Some Saturdays I do volunteer work, sometimes I work, sometimes I rest. Today I’ll be working until about 5pm then having some recoup time.

Canada Shouldn’t Have Homeless People

So yesterday I drove to downtown early, hoping to visit some shelters but instead I walked around praying that we would have a successful night for God.

Mr. Chong isn’t doing very well, he doesn’t look good. Sad, sick and just looking like he has no hope. I wish there was more we could do. I am trying to hook him up with a home as best I can. Cubby was drunk, actually I had seen him much earlier in the evening coming out of the LCBO, but by this time he was really out of it. We got them all hot drinks from Tim Hortons.

Amy is leaving soon for her missions trip. We evangelized on the corner of Yonge and Dundas, I spoke to an old man who told me he was going to hell when he died, and I spoke to a young man who also told me he would go straight to hell when he died. It’s a big change from the masses who automatically feel everyone goes to heaven after they die. The old man really struck me though, you could see the sadness in his face. When I gave him a gospel flyer and told him that he could go to heaven, his friend asked for one as well.

Robert spent the whole time talking to a young lady who used to be a Muslim but now was more of a Hindu, talking about nirvana and how we could all be gods. I always like to remind our Hindu friends that they came to Canada because the Christian God makes better countries than the Hindu gods.

Around 10:20pm we walked back to our cars and left for home. It was a good night, and I pray the people we talked to that night would end up in heaven with us.


Wisdom is knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

I Keep Trying

Last night at young adults we did another Rob Bell video, very good stuff and it leads to challenging discussions. You always learn things about people that you never would have thought of when you stick them in a circle and encourage them to talk. The quiet people have a lot to say, amazing stories to tell.

This year, more ministry than ever before. I mean really life impacting ministry, not just in-church stuff, but street ministry, outreach ministry. Not just paying for missionaries to go overseas (I did that as well) but all the local stuff. Soul winning, life saving work.

Stuck In A Rut

I usually always have something to say after Thursday’s homeless outreach and evangelism night. Some nights are difficult, bitter weather, displaced team members and just an overall feeling of blueness can sour the evening.

We got to chat with some of the regulars. Mr. Chong, told me that he receives about $211 per month in government assistance and that some of his friends pretend to be disabled and receive $500 or more but he refuses. I feel bad for him, and he is one person of whom I would put in an apartment asap if I could. He’s such an honest person. He always pulls out his wallet and shows me paperwork to prove his story. He doesn’t have to because I believe him. He never has anything crazy to say. He’s very accurate. He also rarely complains, if ever actually. Last night I saw a look on his face that I haven’t seen in a while. A look of concern. This would be his first winter homeless. I wonder if there’s anything else I can do. Just 2 years ago I could have immediately put him into a home for 6 months but I’m stuck in a rut myself.

After we took care of our homeless friends we headed to Dundas Square where we evangelized for a good hour. It was a good night.

I got to speak to a man of Russian decent. He was waiting for a bus. I asked him “would you like to answer the million dollar question?”. At first he walked away, but later came back asking me how much it would cost. I should have mentioned it was free.

He told me his view, that he didn’t believe in God, or that if there was a God that He would have no care to reach out to people. I pray that God does reach out to him. He said he would be very interested in knowing God, but how?

I Like Visiting Video Stores

Last night I was at Roger’s video getting a movie. There was a young couple choosing a video and the male was very rude and absurd to the lady. I often wonder why women are so desperate to stay with men like that. In Guyana, where I was born, women had few choices, here in Canada women have plenty of choices but seem to make the wrong ones.

You Gotta Do What God Tells You To Do

I still don’t like using the microphone when I speak in public.

At church we watched an amazing 15 minute video from Rob Bell about the spirit of God and breathing and the name of God. I lead a short study after. After service I got to finally sit down and chat with Joe, Ashton, Erica and Brittany. Ashton, Brittany and Gerrald are all going to Australia for God in 2009. Meanwhile Caroline comes back next week from 12 months there. What is about Christian people leaving Canada? Please stay! We have a shortage of good Christians here.

It makes me happy that they are going to do that for God, I feel bad that people like Ashton feels she might stay there forever, or at least not come back to Canada and do missions forever. I guess as a young person I could have done the same. Sometimes I feel that I still can. I support a bunch of full time missionaries and part time missionaries and I’m always sad to see them leave Canada. But you’ve got to do what God wants you to do.

Finally The Youngest One In The Room

Last night I went to church for the evening service, a mens choir was performing some hymns for us which was ultra boring. All of the men were seniors, and thus most of the people in the audience were seniors, I was the youngest there which was a nice change.

Please Interpret This Dream!

Lastnight I had a dream that this guy came to town who had super powers, and he demolished buildings for a living and he could take down a house in just a few seconds and clean up the mess as well. Well anyway I was working in a grocery store and I asked the guy how he could do such things, but at the time he was giving his girlfriend a massage so he got angry that I disrupted them. So he forced me to eat a pig. This was all happening at 3525 Brandongate drive, the townhouses where I used to live. Definitely one of the most bizarre dreams I’ve ever had.

Yesterday I worked, and then headed out to church to pickup my pals for a night of homeless outreach and evangelism. James, Ryan and Rebecca came. Shayvon couldn’t make it but she brought lot’s of delicious foods for us to give out. We got downtown at 8:30 and fed the homeless. One man, named Mike asked us for prayer – but he said he couldn’t pray himself because he didn’t know any of the words. It was heartwarming and I could see the conern in his eyes. He works full time but it’s not easy getting an apartment, I know what that’s like.

We met some of our usuals including Cubby and Mr. Chong. I’m concerned about Mr. Chong because he doesn’t seem to have the wherewithal to actually get into housing. But I’m still hopeful.

Anyway, last night we met a large group that drives all the way from Kingston every week. It’s 6 hours round trip but God has called them to minister to people in Toronto and they’ve been helping the community a lot. A Christian group of course.

After we met up with the rest of the group Amie was there, and she was super hyper! At first I thought maybe something was wrong. We evangelized on Yonge and Dundas for a good while, it was very cold but after a while we didn’t notice. It’s very easy to talk to people – “where will you go after you die” I ask them. It’s a hard question for even the most aggressive athiest to ignore. Each person’s soul cries out evidence of Jesus Christ, regardless of what that person believes.

I got home around 12:45am. Ouch. But well worth it. I was scared that I wouldn’t make it through the night because I’m fighting off the flu. Today I have a moderate fever, nothing major.

Seaton House

Traumatizing is what I call Tuesday night’s homeless outreach ministry. Remember the first time I went out, back in 99? It was rough. We saw kids sleeping on the street. It makes me wonder if I went to school with any of them.

Last night wasn’t any less traumatizing. We started at Nathan Phillips Square and there weren’t very many of our regulars. It helps that there are a lot of abandoned condo’s in the area now so they sort of have a place to stay.

My concern is with the downturn in the economy we may have a much larger influx of families, and I’d hate to have to stay where the other people stay. After we drove to Sherbourne park, where we met Roy, a Jamaican man. We chatted with him for a good while (by the way, it was –5c outside, very cold). After that we drove over to Seaton House, a government run facility for homeless men. The women stayed in the car while we handed out many sandwiches and bowls of chilli. It was a rough place. I mean these guys were out of their minds and you could see drug paraphernalia all over the place. One man was dressed very nicely and I figured he worked there, actually he was just as homeless as the other guys. We got out of there quickly. What bothers me is the horrible way some of the homeless treat each other down there. I hear of beatings and rapes and thefts. It makes it harder to solve the problem. Seaton House is in a terrible area. There is a woman’s shelter not far down the street but the street itself is side to side pawn shops and strip clubs. Police officers were patrolling up and down the streets and plenty of fights broke out during the short time we were there. I asked one of the men behind a thick iron gate if it’s always like this and he looked around before answering me in fear, “yes!”.

Mennonites Wear Bonnets And Still Spread The Gospel

I worked more than 15 hours on Wednesday. That was no fun.

Wednesday evening I got to meet my old associate Robert who is still in Toronto, in the same crappy office building. For a filthy rich guy he sure does not know how to treat himself. While we were getting our business done he asked me if I know my biological father, and I explained to him that he abandoned me before I was born and tried to kill me. Robert was agitated and told me the story about his grandfather. Well back in the 30’s Robert’s father was in India, his grandfather had taken him there to live for a while. His grandfather then abandoned the family and moved to London to live the high life. Robert’s dad, many years later visited his father to get some closure, but the grandfather showed no remorse for what he had done. A sad sad tale and I could see the pain in Robert’s eyes as he told the story. Robert is typically a jerk-face so I’ve never seen this side of him before.

Anyway, Wednesday night ended with a great big success. Yesterday was Thursday and I worked through the day – seemingly getting nothing done even though working over 12 hours.

I went downtown very early to do the homeless outreach. Actually traffic was really nasty – something I downright hate about Toronto. A 20 minute drive took 1 hour. I needed to get some errands done before hand. I parked my car in the usual spot and my credit card was declined at the parking meter, even though there was plenty of cash available on it. I walked about 20 minutes to the FedEx location only to have them tell me that their pickup time was at 6pm. They recommended I go to another location – wouldn’t you know it, very close to where I parked. I would have gone there first but the FedEx website didn’t even mention that location. Anyway it was a FedEx Kinkos. I walked all the way back there and submitted my envelope. The lady told me they don’t currently accept any cash or debit, LOL. So I paid with my credit card just fine.

We reached out to a bunch of homeless and got to really chat with them this time around. The weather was actually quite nice. Around 10pm we headed to our evangelism spot on Yonge and Dundas, where we met about 40 Mennonites from Kitchener who come to sing songs and evangelize. I’ve seen them for years but this time I stopped and introduced myself. There are so many great Christian groups spreading the good news in the area. It was great to make friends with them and it was so uplifting for me to see other Christians doing God’s work there. We talked to a lot of people about Jesus that night and I thought it was a huge success.

Following Jesus Is Dangerous

Friday. So as I mentioned I had a nightmare Thursday night which came through on Friday. It was a rough day. I rented “Get Smart” that evening to wind down. It was okay. I was supposed to go to church that night for a special event but I just didn’t have the energy. I went to bed pretty early actually. I’m at church several times a week so if I miss one service it’s not so bad.

Saturday I drove my visiting uncle and gramma around town, while waiting in the car for 30 minutes at a time I would make very important business phone calls. None of them turned out good though. It was one rough conversation after another as the economy continues to slide south. My uncle hasn’t been in Canada since 2002. He’s aged a lot. His hair is thin and grey. Still looks handsome, just much older. Of course I could say the same thing about myself. I haven’t spent any real time with him since 1996 when we built a shelf together in my garage, so it was nice to be able to spend time with him now, after 12 years.

Sunday I woke up and did chores and got ahead on some work. I watched my new favourite tv show which is TERMINATOR: THE SARA CONNER CHRONICLES. I went to church to, that’s a given.

Monday night, which was last night, I went to church. Actually when I was about to leave I saw my uncle one last time, he was leaving to go to the airport so I gave him a hug, told him God bless you and I love you. It was good of me to say, and I do hope he saw some of the love of Jesus while he was here. He’s a Muslim and me converting to Christianity in 1997 caused a massive rift in my family. The rift gets worst as more of us convert and follow Jesus. I’m known as Asif the trouble maker. There are plenty of hard feelings. When I got to Monday church I looked stressed, sad, teary and red-eyed. Many people noticed actually, which lead to a lot of questions.

During service we had a guest band. One of the members of the band gave a testimony about one of his band mates. A young man who has an awful stutter, who has about 20 step siblings because his parents continue to get divorced and re-married. It was very inspirational. I was also agitated that a few of our young adults though that his pain and suffering was funny and they laughed. I want to reiterate that young adults are the worthless garbage of every church.

After service my friend Shannelle, told me about how our mutual friend Johnny, who is in a wheelchair, who can’t talk, walk, and can barely move his arms is almost finished law school. It blew my mind and it helped me to get out of bed this morning.

Today it’s back to work as usual. Time to really get to that next level in life. I’ve been here too long and I’ve gotten used to all the wrong things.

Dreams Can Come True. So Can Nightmares

Last night I had a horrible nightmare. Wouldn’t you know it, today, in fact early in the morning, it came true. What are the odds? I won’t even write about what the nightmare was, I would actually hope to forget all about it.

Yesterday was good. I went downtown early and walked around Young and Dundas to pray. When I got back the team had arrived. Remember Amy? She’s that young, nice girl who faithfully comes out to each homeless outreach. She’s from Manitoba and is living with her sister while working here. She might go overseas for a few months on a dangerous mission trip. Well she walked to church, a trip that took her about 45 minutes and it left her feet in pain. Luckily I had my pair of emergency socks in the car, which she put over hers, and walked around downtown with only socks on, no shoes! It was both cute, daring and crazy since it is November. I was worried that she would step on something but she didn’t.

We prayed and then headed out, taking care of the needs of the homeless at Nathan Phillips Square. I forgot to mention that I talked to my cousin W for the first time in more than 20 years. She’s 24 now, married with 2 children. She still lives in Guyana so we we are talking online. The last time I was in Guyana we didn’t have electricity or running water, let alone internet. We frequently send barrels of clothing and cool stuff there for everyone. Once in a while a friend of a friend will ask for us to send back something very specific. One of my friends uncles asked us to send him “a few of those magazines with naked white girls.” I did not fulfil his request lol. I remember when W and I used to play together as children.