The Circumcision of Asif Zamir

I remember it vividly. I was 4 years old. It was Guyana, South America. I was living at my grandmothers house which was built in the 50’s for $500 USD. The house sat upon tall stilts because the rainy season would bring floods that would wash away houses and farms. Several of our neighbors houses were washed away and were simply piles of sticks they lived in. You could walk clearly under the house, which was dirt floors. Red ants would crawl up your legs and bite you hard, it would hurt. I like to ride my tricycle which was from the city dump. My uncle made 2 wooden rear wheels for it because we couldn’t find the wheels when we took the trike. We had lot of chickens and a goat. Once in a while the neighbors cows would break into our property and scare me, mooing loudly. Wild South American foxes and dogs would get in our property and kill our animals. More than one were killed with an ax.

One day I was minding my own business playing, and I was invited inside and asked to lay on the bare floor, which I did with a giggle at first. Then 2 cute ladies held me down, each one holding both an arm and a leg. The doctor (I would hope he was a doctor) removed my pants and underwear and grabbed hold of my wiener. That’s when I started to panic. I mean I really started to panic. I tried my damn hardest to get free and run away but they had a good grip on me. I even threatened to beat the women up. I tried making up an excuse that I needed to go relieve myself. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what this guy was trying to do to me. Living in Guyana, in our town, part jungle, part farmland, you had to become street smart fast. People would be killed in the street and bad things would happen all the time. Kids would be killed or go missing walking to school in the morning.

You could pay a hit-man $200 USD to kill someone, far cheaper than the rates in Canada. I saw a lot in Guyana. But I had never seen anything like this. The doctor (I really hope he was a doctor) circumcised me. I felt the initial cut and screamed probably as loud as I ever remember screaming.

No pain medicine, no anesthesia. Not even a comfortable bed to lay on. When he was done I was to tired to fight. I went to sleep or fainted or something. When I came to, I got up and walked around in severe pain. What the hell just happened? I was minding my own business, living my life, doing what I do and all of a sudden I’m in this brand new situation.

Fast forward to today and I don’t remember the circumcision as a negative event, but a positive one. The doctor (I no longer care if he was a doctor) did a really, really great job. I remember the pain, and the suffering and lack of hope and it helped to mold me into a man today. This is exactly how I feel today. I wake up, have my bible time, prayer time, worship time, I go to work, run my errands, go to church, come home and eat dinner, do my prayers and go to sleep. I’ve acted with good will and in good faith towards everyone and yet all of a sudden, I’m in this brand new situation. Everything that can collapse has collapsed in 2007. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong for me in 2007.

This year I worked everyday. I pushed myself harder than ever. I put in at least 1,000 hours of useful volunteer work. I reached hundreds and maybe thousands of precious souls for Jesus and participated in a small handful of quality missions projects that saved lives. I did the best I could, but it wasn’t enough. Church ministry went well, but work was a nightmare.

If I told you every bizarre event that happened to me in previous years, you might believe me because there were logical explanations for each situation.

But this year there are no logical explanations. Everything that can go wrong in life has gone wrong. Loss of money, friends, even self respect. In December of 2005 I had less than $400,000 in debt and a decent income. Today as I write this I’m in $3,000,000 of debt and my income is almost $0. None of my clients can pay me, there is talk all over about a deep recession worldwide. I’m suffering from a slight depression that I’m sure will catch up to me and kick my ass.

And yet in a way, I’m moving forward as planned.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. – Exodus 14:15

December 18 2008

Sometimes the person I hate the most in the world is myself.

Laying Here Staring At the Ceiling

I packed up my things and by 1pm I was in a taxi with all my stuff, all my worldly possessions headed to Malton. I moved my stuff in, setup my bedroom and went to sleep. I had trouble sleeping the first night knowing that I’d have 3 other room mates.

Sunday I setup my desk and then took the bus over to a charity fund raising dinner for Rwanda. Which was way better than I expected. We had great food, a buffet, we got to hear some talking and see some dancing.

One of the young ladies gave a testimony in the Rwandan language (we had an English translator) about how her dad was crucified, her mom and siblings burned to death in church. Yup, some people don’t like Christians.

It lasted from about 2 – 5pm. That’s when I started helping with the cleaning (I live for stuff like this). Anyway we cleaned up the hall, and then moved onto the most dreadful task – the kitchen. It took us from 5pm to 9pm washing and drying and putting away dishes, cutlery, pots, containers and a whole host of miscellaneous things. It must have taken 15 of us to do it all and one reason I really like doing things like this is because I can talk to people about Jesus. Some people need a mic and stage, not me.

Andrew and his sister gave me a ride all the way home, I really really appreciated it. I got home and I relaxed, I was really happy all things considered.

This morning I woke up, went over to the mall, I got the internet and tv setup, got a bit of work done and now I’m getting ready for church.

Losing a few inches off my waist is good news

The thing about helping the poor is that they can never really help you back.

I had a meeting with a new potential client and I realized that 1.) I don’t have enough bus money so I’ll be walking for about 6 hours today 2.) I lost my beautiful ties when I lost my home but I do have enough for a $1 tie from the dollar store.

The tie I purchased feels like it’s made out of paper, lol. The meeting went okay though. I’m really hungry and I’ve been drinking a lot of free coffee. I’m living out of a suitcase and a bunch of garbage bags, and the garbage bags are starting to tear.

January and I’m Already Tired

On Friday my sister came home from school for a few days. I picked her up and then we picked up Mason and Eggbert and went to church. At church we had a fun service with worship and prayer and discussions. After we all came back to my place for a sleepover. Mason fasted from food Wed / Thur / Fri and I fasted Thur / Fri. Eggbert fasted Fri.

We watched a movie and went to bed. I slept in the kitchen and pretended I was in a space ship. The next morning I woke up and did my prayers, I made them all toast, eggs, sausages, pancakes. We then went to A&P and purchased $70 in ingredients, then bake lots of goodies for the church bake sale. I don’t believe in church bake sales, they aren’t a good idea. You spend more money on the products than you bring in. In my opinion, just give the money to church.

After we relaxed and watched some tv, ate roti and curry for dinner that we got from Bramalea City Centre. We showered and I took a nap.

Around 930pm (Yes the day went FAST) we went to watch a movie at the theatre, something I rarely do these days. Sis and Eggbert watched something with Hillary Swank (Freedom Writers) and Mason and I watched The Hitcher which is a horror. Don’t know how girls watch such boring movies. Around 1am we drove them home, and went home.

Sunday I dropped sis off to school in Waterloo and then went off to church. I took the LONG way unfortunately so it took forever.

When I got there we had a nice service, and then we sold our $70 in goodies for like $30. LOL. Church math.

More Missions

Dana wrote this and is allowing me to use it.
Saturday’s adventure at the missions convention was the greatest! :) B and Jon accompanied me to Toronto to take in as many of the workshops as we could. While there we unexpectedly ran into some friends!!

Asif and I had been planning for a while to meet up, but somehow we ended up not connecting before I hit the road on Saturday. So, imagine my surprise when I see Asif appearing just ten feet in front of me in one of the isles in this huge exhibition hall packed full of thousands of people!! How awesome was that?! Well, Beck and Jon ran into a couple surprise friends and family of their own in this same exhibition hall (including our uncle, a pastor in the Toronto area), so as they chatted with some of those folks, Asif and I took off to look through the gazillions of mission organizations and information booths crammed throughout the hall. As an aside, I was absolutely famished at the time, but when I heard that a tuna sandwich cost $7.75 I decided to starve instead. As Asif later commented, if I wanted to pay that much for a sandwich I could have gone to the movie theatre instead.
I was glad to see so many health and development organizations represented here, Habitat for Humanity Toronto, International China Concern, Living Water Canada, Mercy Ships (Canada), and many more.

Cambridge friends: We ran into a number of church friends from Cambridge as well. Among them was Alan whose heart is incredibly dedicated to overseas missions – he’s truly an inspiration!! We also ran into H, a social work student from church who I actually just met for the first time at MissionFest! We hit it off really well, so I look forward to chatting with her some more in the near future. :)

Half the fun of these events are always these surprise meetings with likeminded friends and family. So seeing familiar faces really gave the day a community atmosphere – I loved every minute of it!


Here is some poetry and a short story by Eggbert. She’s 18 now, but she used to be a little child in my children church class when she was about 9 or younger. I figured I’d keep some of her poetry / stories and bug her about them when she’s old, married with children of her own. This August I’ll help her move into college, and remind her that she used to pull on my shirt while eating candy, asking if I can buy her Archie Comics for her birthday.

March 27, 2006

A bear,
With the great might
Of one who is stronger
Then all who may invade his home
Of trees.

The Gobble de Glook
Today I met a Gobble de Glook
Who seemed to me the perfect crook.
He carried with him a crooked rook,
Which, he showed me, was used to cook.

He claims to be cousins with the Mook,
Too weird to exist in all but a book.
Both the Glook and the Mook were friends
With the Jook,
Who had the most unusual hook.

These silly connections for granted I took,
For by now my brain was no better then gook.
But all of a sudden the fun little Glook
Took out a small, but hard covered book.

Inside it where pictures of the Glook, Mook,
And Jook, who had the most unusual hook.
And I couldn’t help but take a good look
To see for myself the connections of the
Gobble de Glook.

Little girls coloring
Splashes of color
Beautiful tapestries
Lovingly put together with great care
Each color chosen painstakingly

Little boys coloring
Splashes of color
Beautiful tapestries
Messily put together
No thought of care
Each color randomly picked up

Little children coloring
Splashes of color
Beautiful tapestries
Each picture put together differently
Each color adding to the innocence
Of their hard work

As I look back on all the passing years
My memories are what I long to live.
For only then will I forget my fears
And to the past, myself I truly give.

The memories of times spent with my friends
And times when I could get some time alone.
Some more moments are just around life’s bends
Yet, past moments are best that I have known.

The memories of times where I could smile
At the mischievous, troublesome me.
Though my parents still loved me all the while
But to behave was their unending plea.

Although my memories are in the past,
The time I spend with them will always last.

Short Story – Adequacy
The old man smiled gruffly at the children as they cut in front of him, chasing after their ball. “If only” he thought to himself as he reminisced his childhood long forgotten. But as always an immediate sorrow flooded his soul. He scratched at his thickly overgrown beard. His appearance greatly matched his scruffy beard with old clothes that looked like they hadn’t been washed in awhile, which they hadn’t. His top was not quite tucked in and had a dark stain on the front from some left over meal, and the pants were in desperate need of ironing, with dirty hems. He just hadn’t had time to do laundry, and to tell the truth, he didn’t really know how. His wife had always done the laundry. The thought of her brought with it fresh pain all to near the brink of despair. She had been gone for six months now, had passed away peacefully in her sleep, and yet the old man could not bring himself to feel joy anymore.

The old man quickly pushed all those thoughts aside, out of his mind and continued on with his journey. Just a few more blocks to go and he would be at the train station where he would pick up his grandson. His daughter and son in law had this really good idea that leaving their son with him might cheer him up a bit while they go away for a small trip. He was not amused. Although he greatly loved his grandson, he was reluctant to have to watch him for a few days. He didn’t feel adequate enough to be able to keep the boy happy.

His daughter and grandson were waiting for him when he arrived. She quickly walked up and gave him a hug, mumbling that she knew how hard it was, but having his grandson around would do him some good.

“You never know, it may cheer you up a bit!” she said as brightly as she could. She gave her son a hug and then started to move away.

”It’ll only be for a few days. Thanks again dad!” she said as if to fill the silence descending on them all like a stifling blanket. Even the noise from the train station didn’t seem to penetrate the tension. Grandfather and grandson watched her walk away until she was out of sight. Finally the boy turned and looked up at his grandfather, his eyes big and round with hesitation, for he didn’t know what to expect. The old man looked down at the boy noticing his big round eyes. “Yup, never going to be able to please this one”, he thought to himself.

“Well let’s go kid.” The old man said with as much gruffness as he could muster. They turned to walk away and the boy reached up and grasped his grandfather’s hand out of desperation. The old man was touched by the gesture and bit his lip to hold back the onslaught of tears.

Going back to his little suburban two bedroom apartment just didn’t feel right, so the old man decided to take a detour, and maybe spend a little bit of time getting to know his grandson. He had never actually known the boy, for his daughter had chosen to move away from home; too far to see every weekend, but close enough to see every once in a while. So the old man and his wife had only seen the boy on special occasions.

The young boy said not a word as they walked. This made the old man feel guilty at not being capable to entertain him. Suddenly a thought came to him.

“Let’s go this way” the old man pointed to a street just off to the side. He tried to not sound as gruff as he had before, after all, the boy seemed scared of him. He led the boy through a maze of streets until they came upon an antique shops road. The boy’s eyes grew round at the sight of all the wonderful things that had become forgotten by the modern world. The old man smiled to himself. He could still remember the first time his dad had brought him here. Ha had been no older then his grandson was now, and had been absolutely amazed at the wonderful sights. One particular shop stood out in his mind though. It had been one of the most thrilling shops that he had ever been to. That was where he was taking his grandson.

As the shop came into sight, a small gasp escaped the young boy’s lips. The grandfather paused in front of the shop long enough to thoroughly entice the boy before going in. Boats filled the room and the strong smell of mahogany floated on the air. The boats ranged in sizes, some big and majestic, others simple, but all were extraordinary. The model boats were spectacular to look at.

“How about we buy one of the model kits and then take it home to build it?” asked the grandfather. All shyness forgotten, the excited boy nearly shouted out his agreement and then quite happily helped his grandfather pick out the perfect model.

Once they were on their way home, the young boy grabbed his grandfather’s hand again, only this time the old man felt the love and awe emanating off him. Feeling more adequate, the old man began to tell the boy of his own experience first visiting the shop. The boy listened with the eager anticipation that only a young child could produce, and for the first time in months, the old man felt truly happy.


I watched a fantastic Hungarian film (English subtitles) called Kontroll (1993). The storyline was about a group of friends who worked in the Hungarian subway systems as ticket checkers. In Hungary there are no turn-styles or official way to verify someone has paid for a ticket other than to have someone else check. Well it’s a very dangerous job, they get poked with needles, beaten up and at least threatened by people who have not purchased a ticket or who simply do not want to show their ticket stub. (sounds like a typical night walking around Malton) I told a bunch of my friends that we could all go and work there for a while to have adventures. They reminded me that they should go, but that I should stay here because my life has already had too much adventure. I agreed.

Then today I thought up of another fun adventure we could all have: If we had a large cruise ship it could double as a treasure hunting ship. I heard there are more than 1,000,000 ships that sunk and have not been discovered. I wish I could leave for this job tomorrow. Things at work are really unstable.

I hear that every month, 1500 pastors quit their job in North America. Burn out being the number one reason. I’m there. I want to help save everyone around me and in return I myself will need saving. I’m there.

God Bless America!

I woke up in the morning, ate breakfast and headed straight to work. There is always too much to do. In fact I had to switch my “to do” list from small note paper to large note paper.

I did my emails, my phone calls, paperwork, computer work, research and errands (banking, post office etc.) I find that sitting in heavy traffic wastes about 2 hrs a day of my time.

Around 3pm I was finished working. Way behind schedule, though satisfied that I did a good amount of work for the day. Lingering in the back of my head is the thought “I wish I had done even more this week.”

I packed my clothes into my new suitcase which at the time of purchase was super cute, however way to small. I unplugged my water fountain and was on my way.

By 4:30pm I was on the road. Headed down the 401 toward Mason. I made a detour in London to finally meet my 83 year old pen pal of 8 years, Daphne. We’ve been snail mailing regularly since the 90’s and she’s so fun to talk to. We exchanged photos and did a few phone conversations here and there. What does a mid 20’s brown man and a mid 80s white lady have in common? Thanks to Jesus we have tons in common. At her apartment we ate cookies and drank instant coffee while chatting about all sorts of great adventures from her past, and my future plans. Daphne is amazing, she showed me her binders of missions work, with over 7,000 (yes seven thousand) total pages of adventures for God. My binder only has a few hundred pages. Over the years she’s saved all the letters I’ve sent her, and I’ve saved all of hers in my treasure box. She’s lived her entire life for God. Her husband died a few years ago and she no longer drives but she dreams about maybe going to Australia for one last mission trip. I prefer being friends with people like Daphne over people my age who only drink and go clubbing. Older people have a better perspective on life.

Around 7:30pm I left and picked up Mason who lives way out into the country. We were driving off when he asked if I’d like to go say goodbye to his mom and Eggbert.

Around 8pm Mason and I were on the road. He kept asking where we were staying, and along the way we would see “Holiday Inn” everywhere so I told him we would stay at Holiday Inn. I actually did think we were staying there because I thought that’s what I booked online.

Anyway, we got to the USA Michigan border around 9:30pm and they asked us to pull over while they searched our car. I was nervous because we weren’t allowed to be present while they searched our car and I was wondering what would happen if they simply stole our $500 in cash or planted something on us. I obviously watch too many movies about this stuff. It happens to others I’m sure. 95% of the people waiting for their car to be checked were non-white. Just saying.

Anyway, we were on our way about 30 minutes later and the border officials were perfectly nice. We toured through Michigan, and then a long drive through Ohio HWY I-80. Wow! It was fantastic. It was really really good. Nothing better than a long drive in the middle of nowhere, it really clears your mind. Since Mason moved we’ve been mostly chatting online, you’d think that we’d be chatting the whole way but for this long stretch of road there was complete silence as both of our lives are at turning points.

What was hilarious was that we stopped at a toll booth for a toll road, which was unexpected. I was worried that it would cost us about $150 in tolls because in Canada we have Highway 407 which is extremely expensive. Mason and I drove on it (407) for about 45 minutes and it cost about $40.00. And today we were to drive on this US toll road for about 3 hours! Well needless to say I was worried. Anyway I asked the lady in the booth approximately how much we might have to pay and she calculated for about a full minute with a calculator. I thought “Oh boy it’s going to be a lot”. Well anyway, she finally told us “It might be up to $2.30”. Oh we laughed and laughed. I think I may have even said out loud “God bless America”.

We stopped at a truck stop to get some food because we wanted to make our road trip official – but it was really nasty in there. We couldn’t stand it so we left, but before I did, I purchased a lotto ticket from a vending machine, which is something we can’t do in Canada (that I know of). I won $2 on a $1 ticket however they wouldn’t let me cash it in because apparently the business hours were closed for cashing in lotto tickets in Ohio.

Anyway about 50km later we were at a familiar sight – McDonald’s. It was great. Vending machines of all sorts, a shoe buffer in the bathroom. We took some fancy Indiana catalogs from a display rack and then ordered our food. The worker took our order with pencil and paper, and then added it up that way. At first we thought we were in real Amish town but later found out the cash registers were down for the day. He looked Amish so I’m not sure what to believe. I also remember the lady in the tollbooth used a hand held calculator and didn’t have a modern register. She used a pen and paper also.

Anyway, as we sat down to eat, Mason showed me the Holiday Inn brochure he picked up and went on and on about how cool it was with the pool and hot tub and Internet and arcade etc.

Anyway we continued our drive and had to take a big detour through some Ohio city because of construction. It was fun but we were really behind schedule.

We pulled into long straight Indiana Amish roads about 2:30am. It was so peaceful and nice. About 3:30am we pulled into the Holiday Inn and the lady there explained that all of her reservations were checked in already. LOL. Anyway I was beginning to worry. We went right across the street to Ramada Inn and finally got some closure – we had a real reservation there! Ha!

At 4am I was in bed trying to sleep, but I couldn’t. Anyway around 6:30am my pal Margaret called, she was in the lobby with donuts (yuck, she didn’t realize that I can’t stand sugar in the morning). Well I told her we had barely slept a wink and we would meet up with her later. I felt extremely bad about this. See she was there because I promised her we would help her with her ministry that hands out coffee and donuts to people in the morning and saying nice things to them. It’s part of a church initiative. I can’t explain how badly I felt for not being able to do it. It wasn’t just the lack of sleep that night, but so far this year I haven’t been getting the sleep I need. I’m over working like crazy. I’ve gone overboard and it’s making me sloppy.

We slept for a few more hours and though still extremely exhausted from the long drive and not-so-good sleep, we woke up, showered and got ready for our day.

I walked through the hallway towards the lobby, and saw Margaret fidgeting with something in her jacket. (A hat she had knitted for me.) We exchanged hugs and talked for a few minutes before heading back to my room to meet Mason. Well, after that Margaret drove us to her house where we got the grand tour, and met with Emily: a friend who works in a factory by day and lives in a beautiful house she commissioned herself. Emily is full of spunk. I learned later on she even does such things as skydiving! Wow! I won’t even jump on a trampoline.

We met Anna, we met Sarah, a black girl who reminded me of Lauren. We then spent a few minutes deciding where to eat lunch while I took pictures of one of the super fat cats they owned.

They decided on a Chinese buffet. At the buffet we ate some really good food, had some good conversations about Indiana, Canada, road trips, street gangs, Jane and Finch and a whole page of other conversations. American people have heard of Jane and Finch which is really sad for Canada. After we ate one of the most sumptuous buffet meals ever in a really nice place, the bill came, and I figured once again that it would be just like Canada – about $45.00 each person. Wrong again, It was $6.00 per person including taxes and drink. I realized that some places in the world simply have a lower cost of living. Obviously if we were in New York City we’d be broke by now. But honestly, God bless America.

We paid and then left for our next destination: The Old Bag Factory. It was closed when we got there. Apparently everything closes early in Goshen during the weekends. So we went to a nearby store that was very interesting. This store had products from all over the world, but paid the creators fair prices for their work. The store was non profit and was run by volunteers.

Anyway after spending a good hour there I was really bored (not to mention exhausted). We went to a Christian coffee house to meet Trea and her baby, Gav. I had a strawberry smoothie while we all chatted, for about an hour or more. It was so nice to meet all of these people especially since I had heard so much about them over the months. Also, a christian coffee house – only in America. This kind of store wouldn’t survive 1 year in the Toronto area, no way. Rights activists would have it shut down for one reason or another.

After all of this we headed over to Blockbuster to pickup some videos. It seems like Blockbuster in Indiana had way more of a selection that Blockbuster here in Canada. I’m not quite sure. Anyway, it took about another hour to get our videos because they had to sign me up with a new membership card because my Canadian card wasn’t valid here. We then went to a large grocery store to get snacks, another errand that took about an hour. I wanted to get some fresh cut fruit however Mason wanted some junk food. Well they had had a huge selection because they had 1 isle dedicated to sugary drinks, another isle dedicated to chips and another isle dedicated to candies. Massive 3lb bags of candies even! Is there a health crisis in America yet? Oh yes and I shouldn’t forget, they have 3ltr bottles of soda here compared to our 2lr bottles! Wow! And you can even purchase real liquor in the grocery store, something you can’t do in Canada that I know of. It’s just right there in the regular isles. Not that we purchased any.

Anyway after our amazement we left and went to the hotel, nobody else was going to be joining us because they all had previous plans. I was too tired to argue about it.

We watched the first movie called 11:14 (2003). An excellent dark comedy with many twists and turns. After we started a zombie movie which really sucked. Half way through that Sarah called us and invited us to Steak and Shake for a snack. I was almost too tired to go but I went anyway. I had a tuna melt, Margaret had cheese fries, Mason had cheese fries also (I think). Anyway we then met Sarah’s ex boyfriend who now does work for Comedy Central. We chatted for about another hour, and then Margaret drove us home. The steak and shake was packed. Groups of friends just eating and chatting. I like to eat and watch tv. Margarets group likes to do this thing where you pay for your meal and you pay for a strangers also, and if possible give them a note that says God loves you. So we did that, it was neat and I promised to do it more often.

My goal was to take about 100 photos during the trip, however as luck had it I took about 20 photos and only 5 came out nice.

Well when Mason and I got to the hotel, we finally had a chance to look around. We toured around to see the gigantic swimming pool, the well stocked arcade, and other amenities including bunny rabbit and bird-in-a-cage. Mason logged onto the hotels internet on his Palm Pilot so we could look up a good map to use for tomorrow’s driving home. He’s so into technology and I’m not really anymore. Not so much these days. Give me a good old paper map, a pad of paper and pen.

Around 11pm I eased into bed while watching “Unique Whips”. Unique Whips is about an auto customization company in New York called Unique Autosports. They do all kinds of car customizations. I try to watch that show every time it’s on now.

Sunday morning: We woke up around 8am. Still with a sleep deficit but at least it’s not that big anymore. We ate some toast in the breakfast room then I showered (by the way, awesome hotel for the price, unbeatable). Mason and I packed our things, tidied up the hotel room, and checked out.

We warmed up my gorgeous 1998 Mercury and it sputtered for a while, made me a bit nervous (it was cold out) and then as it warmed up it started to sound beautiful (for a car that is). You know the car didn’t give an ounce of trouble the whole trip, I was so glad. With my luck we should have gotten 5 flat tires. Margaret pulled up about 9:35am and we followed her on a 30 minute drive into the city for church. We pulled up to a large building and as we were walking in, I gave Margaret a Canadian loonie and toonie. For 15 months she didn’t believe that those were the real names so I was finally able to prove it to her.

It’s funny how something can be very real to one person and complete nonsense to someone else.

While coming into the church we were greeted with handshakes, coffee, donuts, a bulletin (which I might still have). Apparently visitors even receive a welcome package with a music cd. I was very impressed. Talk about VIP welcome. The worship was really good. One of the songs I couldn’t get out of my head went like this:

The highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God
The song is called Indescribable by Christ Tomlin

Now came time for communion. They got out a big cup filled with juice and a giant stick of bread. I’ve done communion hundreds of times but this was different. I leaned over to Margaret and asked “are we all going to drink out of that cup?”. She laughed and explained that everyone breaks off a piece of bread and then dips it into the cup. I was relieved. Margaret later told me she saw the look of fear on my face when I was asking her about it.

The pastor gave a fantastic sermon from the heart. I was impressed that nobody in this church of about 500 adults wore a suit. Mason was the fanciest dressed haha! The pastor talked about real Christianity vs. people who just say they are a Christian / Catholic. After the service we took a tour of the church while wishing it was my own home church. Mason said that he wants to move to Indiana just to go to church there. I agreed. A good church will do that. It makes people sell their homes and move. I wonder how many people moved because Jesus lived in a certain place. I bet a lot. The bible says that people came from all over the world just to meet King Solomon. How much more would they want to hear from the Lord Himself.

After church we all drove to Blimpies which was like a Subway Restaurant, (Mason now doing all of the driving). We met Jimmy and ate some subs. I had the tuna again. I know, I need to try new things. We listened to Mariah Carrey on the Blimpie stereo system. Afterward we went to Emily’s to finally see her custom made house I’ve been hearing about for the past 15 months. I got the grand tour and I was extra impressed. She had about an acre of property backing right onto the forest, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, hardwood and plush carpeting. Beautifully furnished with old woods. A modern home with old world charm. The backyard view was amazing. What impressed me the most was that this young American girl was such a go getter. She wasn’t concerned with finding a man, she just worked hard, built up her own house, her own land, her own furnishings. She follows God and nobody bosses her around.

Every road trip has to come to an end. I was sad because it was 1pm and time to leave if we were to stay on schedule. I took some more photographs, gave Margaret a hug, and then we left. Mason had an easy time driving through I-80, then I-69, a different route than which we came with. The fact that it took me 15 months to do this trip concerns me. During the drive home, I was sad, to tell you the truth. I wished my friends lived closer to me. Even Mason lives about 2 hours away now days. Worst than this, years before my friends and I would just drop everything on a whim to hang out, that’s not the case today. So many responsibilities, so much to do, so many conflicting schedules. Everyone has to check their calendar. Emergencies come up, some friends have children, others have cancer.

We got to the Canadian border around 6pm, however there was a massive traffic jam there so we didn’t pass through till about 7pm. Frustrating to just wait in traffic!

We stopped for gas and got some donuts / coffee which I figured I would need. I was fairly quiet along the ride home except for going on and on to Mason about how excellent the trip was. Our long drive there was awesome, meeting excellent people who I had been hearing about and the simple fun we had.

I dropped off Mason to his house around 8:30pm and left right away. Eggbert had really wanted me to stay for dinner, she tried and tried to convince me but I was too tired and I had work the next day.

On the way home I was mostly silent except for my praises to God. It was a special weekend for me. A much needed mini vacation and some spiritual therapy. I kept singing the verses of the new song I learned;

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God

I picked up some fast food and pulled into my house around 10:30pm. Exhausted but so refreshed spiritually.

Jesus vs Satan. Jesus Wins

This month I gave really nice furniture to a nice family from Newfoundland who live in Mississauga. A beautiful canopy bed for a girl, also a girls dresser, wall paintings, etc. You should have seen the excitement on her cute little face as I assembled the bed, I had to put the mattress on before I was finished so she could jump on it as soon as possible. Afterward her father showed me some great photos of his home town in Newfoundland and we had a beer, which is a tradition in Newfoundland. Actually I think 10 beers is the tradition, but I left it at one.

Any way, to the main story. In life, everyone will take a beating one way or another. Some people will get a few more beatings than others. Some beatings are physical, some emotional, some metaphoric. Some will get all different kinds. I got all different kinds and I got many of them.

When we lived at Brandon Gate, when I was exactly 11 years old, I took one such beating. I’ve had many beatings in my life than ended with blood and cuts and scars, but I remember this one a lot. I’ll remember this one for a long time.

Now let me paint the picture for you, at that time in life I was working part time, bringing in good money. I remember quietly setting aside a few bucks each month to buy a radio controlled car from Radio Shack. My neighbor was selling his gas powered radio controlled car but I couldn’t afford it, but I purchased a decent battery powered model from Radio Shack. I had to hide it in my room, in a hidden compartment I setup behind my desk. My parents had a decent grasp on my income and realized something was wrong with my account balance. I showed them the car, received a grounding for buying something for myself and it was sent to Guyana to more needy children. I explained that where we were sending it, they didn’t even have the electricity to charge the battery. I was helping them pay their car payments but I couldn’t have a toy car for myself. Story of my life.

I went to school, got decent grades (okay maybe that’s a stretch) and stayed out of trouble for the most part (that’s definitely a stretch). I did my chores, went to the mosque as ordered. Okay okay, I used to take their cars out for drives here and there. Just up and down Goreway drive and Brandon Gate and Morning Star and Airport Road. Why not, after all I was helping make the monthly payments, and it sure was more fun than a radio controlled car.

One day, after a long day at school, my step dad asked me to prepare soup for my sister, he couldn’t do it because that would cut into his beer time. I prepared the soup the wrong way (I didn’t add the can of water to her chicken noodle soup). In my defense I had to hurry and finish my chores and then get to work at my job and then finish my homework. I lied about my age to get a paper delivery job with the Toronto Sun and I could earn more money by signing up new subscribers so I spent hours each day knocking on doors saying “hello would you like to subscribe to the Sunday Sun?” It was a terrible sales pitch with less than a 1% success rate but my route was close to 100 subscribers.

While I was on my knees scrubbing the floor with a brush, my beating started. Now in past years I would scream and cry and beg for mercy, peeing on myself and sometimes trying to run. But this time around I took my beating, no tears, no shame. I was being punched in the head mostly. Punch after punch, not one tear but my voice was shaky.

I was beaten so hard I couldn’t stand up. Have you ever been punched in the head so hard that your ears rang, and your vision was blurred for days after? If not, then you’ve never been punched. Part way through this life lesson, I looked up at him and said with great emotion “I’m growing everyday, one day I will kill you.” It sobered him up right away because he knew it was very true. He said something along the lines of “I know”.

After I finished my chores I went about my work knocking on doors. I didn’t sign on even one new customer.

Less than year later they divorced and we moved a few roads down. When I was 12 I went to the Malton library and took out a few books about Karate. I would practice as much as I could each day. By age 13 I would fulfill one of my life long dreams, I studied Kung Fu at a really good martial arts school. Before you could join, you had to be interviewed by the main instructor. He was extremely impressed with what I had already learned just from books alone.

I had to save like crazy to afford it, it wasn’t cheap. And I had to take the bus a long way and come home really late. It wasn’t easy with all my responsibilities. There was this time when mom left for like 4 or 5 weeks at least, without telling us anything. She just upped and left and we knew better than to report her missing or go look for her, we knew she’d be back eventually. I was working at pickwicks potatoes at the time. I trained really hard, but it was hard carrying the family and doing school as well. Nevertheless I trained hard and I learned fast.

Training was awesome. Sometimes we trained in the dark, blindfolded, one on one, 3 on one, one person holding you down while another beats you. We would train after a hard workout and simulate different scenarios. We would learn how to take a beating. At home I trained as hard as I could including striking wood boards to harden up my knuckles and shins. My hands and feet would bleed and blister up badly, but we had to learn how to handle pain, to embrace it, to love it, to use it to our advantage. I became obsessed with hand to hand combat. I read every book, every magazine. I watched as many martial arts movies ever, usually going to obscure video stores to get them.

My teacher would have to partner with me during sparring because nobody else wanted to – I would give hard beatings to people twice my size, and they could punch and kick me all they wanted, I wouldn’t even flinch. After a few years my Kung Fu teacher would use me as the final opponent during tests and I wouldn’t let any one pass. I remember this one man, he was in his 30’s, I was in my teens. I was in the 90lb range, he was pushing 190. He was taller than me (most people are) and he thought he would have an easy pass. Smiling at me, I smiled back. I let him hit me several times then I kicked him in the side of his head like it was nothing. I felt bad for him when he failed, I felt even worst when he cried in the change room. He was an adult man, crying the way I cried when I was a child.

My instructor put extra effort into me. One of his concerns was that I could easily go to the dark side and become a bad guy. He would even drive me home sometimes, giving me wisdom about self control. I returned the favor by helping him promote his school on the internet which was a baby at the time.

In high school I would hold sort of “fight clubs” here and there. At first at the school but then some teachers caught on and gave me a lecture about insurance, so we would do it at different houses. My shop teacher introduced me to his veteran buddy who fought in world war 2 (to my recollection). I still remember the introduction in my mind. It was during shop class and went something like this:

Teacher: “Asif, meet my friend, he fought in this war, he knows 100 ways to kill a man.”
Asif: “Sir, please teach me everything you know.”

I would hang out with them both as much as I could. One time I kicked the crap out of a guy in the school locker room, this other guy who was already a black belt saw and challenged me and I quickly beat him too. Another time I dropped off a friend at one of those cool-people parties and when I was about to leave this big guy challenged me. It took me maybe 30 seconds to put him on the ground. I made a name for myself. The girl who lived at the party house invited me to go jogging with her, and I would end up teaching self defense to some high school girls at someones basement. Honestly if my life had a highlight reel, this would be in there somewhere.

After years of hard and faithful training, rising up in the ranks one belt at a time, I was in the black belt club, and I concluded my training when I was a young adult. I was proud of my martial arts training. Even wearing my uniform in public, even at church. It was a lifelong dream to do martial arts and I busted my butt to pay for it. From start to finish, I did it. If I had a different life I might have opened my own martial arts school, specifically a woman’s self defense class.

Many years later, instead of giving my step dad the beating (or worse) that I promised him as a child, I gave him a hug and a Bible and we became real friends.

Jesus is able to arrange that kind of thing. No other gods can do it.

Daydreaming in Art Class

When I was 16 years old I sat in the office of this newish company listening to one of the founders going on and on about what he was going to do. He used to call me up and ask me for business tips. I would give him the best tips I could think of. I had nobody to call and ask for help. I was on my own from day one. This is why it’s so important to use a business consultant. Today I saw in the news that his company generates sales of over $350 Million. I don’t know if he makes a profit from that, but if he kept to his plan, he could be earning upwards of $35 Million after taxes every year. Wow. I went to his brand new building which is along hwy 401 going towards Toronto, it’s almost unbelievable to me. He’s only leasing it but still, I remember his old office with stained up drywall and old carpet and now this gorgeous little glass building. Again when I was 16 years old there was another company in Markham that used to boast to me about how they made $500 Million in annual sales at the time. I told them that they were so mean to people that they probably won’t last. This month I found out they went bankrupt and lost their beautiful building.

Mason visited this month, I met him at a mall and we watched The Corps Bride. I’ve become concerned about my prostate health. Art classes are going well. The class is small, but a lot of fun. It’s like a mini vacation for me. My teacher is a full time artist, he earns his income from art. When I was a child, my teachers thought I would earn my income from my paintings. So did I. But those dreams were dashed, and probably for the best. Although my teacher says his cheapest painting is $1,000. Hmmm.

I sit in art class and I daydream about everything. Which is the same as in high school, I daydreamed during art class then to. My childhood, my current life, my future. Important people in my life, possible wives. My art teacher in high school was super awesome, she liked to listen to the Cranberries on cassette tape and she let me have my own personal tape player so I was always in my own world. My friend Steve lent me some of his music, a style of music called Jungle, and then Nirvana. Another girl gave me an REM tape to borrow. My friend Tony gave me his old radio that had AM, FM and shortwave. This whole month has been about me daydreaming the “what if’s” of life.

Bye bye $5,000,000 it was nice knowing you

The first day of my college internship was rough. I had the flu. I showed up at 830am and my job was to phone 750 people and ask them to attend a special event featuring a popular Canadian celebrity. I was coughing, sneezing, and just generally didn’t even feel good. I did my job like a man though, I did a good job. I did a great job. Every day. It was tough because I was working full time and the internship took up 3 full days a week. I still don’t know how I pulled any of that off. But at the end of the internship I had several new job offers from impressed people.

I’m taking an art class in south Mississauga, in a community centre. I’m watching a great new show called Veronica Mars. When I come home from art class my routine includes broiling rainbow trout, with my secret ingredient (mayonnaise).

Today I feel like a big fat loser.

The consulting project I started in 2003, the one I busted my butt to make a big success, has been bringing in regular pay ever since early 2004. Nothing big, just enough to live off of and give generously and reduce my debts little by little. Around that same time in 2003 I met an up and coming player in the industry, and we struck up a written deal where I would receive a royalty for customer acquisition which is the most expensive kind of project. We wrote a solid contract and I signed it, and today I realized he didn’t sign his portion.

I amassed several thousand customers, contracts signed and delivered, and acquired tens of thousands more potential customers contact info and handed it all over to seal the deal. I worked like a madman for what, 2 years straight. I put everything I had into this. I would earn at least $5,000,000 over the course of 10 years, possibly more. I was going to use the first $400,000 to become completely debt free. Heck I even prepared 25 gift baskets for people in anticipation.

After I turned in my hard work, my associate had a change of mind and decided to keep my work, and all the money to himself. His newly formed company will do very well. Of course I didn’t find any of this out until I got a phone call from a large, international corporation telling me about this new direction.

I was in a meeting at Derry and Goreway with my head hung low, and the lady in charge
approached me and tried to encourage me to sue. She was more upset about the whole thing than I was. I don’t even know how she knew about the whole thing. Maybe I’ll get upset about this later on, it’s just that right now I don’t have the resources to fight it. How do you fight a big corporation. How much does that cost?

It’s not the first time I got played. Back when I was 18 a man in Burlington claimed to be a potential investor in a project I was leading, he requested a detailed business plan including a list of suppliers and partners, which I happily personally delivered to him. Turns out he was the father of one of my main competitors and the project fell apart immediately after.

My mom saves lives

I have a funny memory of this one day when I was working at pickwicks potatoes. I was around 12 or 13 years old and to my recollection I earned $3 or $3.25 per hour and did 10 hours on Saturday and 10 on Sunday on top of my other responsibilities. This one morning after I completed the setup including brewing a fresh pot of coffee, the smell filled the building and it drew a lot of coffee lovers our way. Several ladies approached me and I said “Good morning how can I help you?” or something like that, in the most vibrant and enthusiastic manner possible. It was over the top to say the least. I don’t know why I was so enthusiastic, life wasn’t going super well for me at home. But these 2 ladies each grabbed one of my arms and pulled at me in opposite directions, while saying to my boss “can we keep him?”.

Today I feel the same way. Everyone wants something from me. One person wants me to do this, another wants me to do that. Nobody remembers the 1,500 times I’ve said yes to them, only the 1 time I said no. To some people you can be an angel one moment and a demon the next. Those people are unstable and I try to keep them out of my life.

My mom had a bunch of supplies she wanted me to to pickup and deliver to an address in Malton, people I had never met before. When I took the stuff over, mostly clothing and food, the family told me that my mom saved their life. Later in the week I was in Shoppers Drug Mart and someone approached me, a lady, “are you so-and-so’s son?” yup I said. They then went on about how great my mom was and how she helped save their life to. When I see people I know anywhere, the conversation usually goes something like this:

Someone: Hey Asif!
Asif: Hi, it’s nice to see you.
Someone: How’s your mom, tell her to call me, I need some advise.
Asif: Thanks I’m doing great.


Many of my clients surpass me, building more successful businesses than I’ve ever been able to build. I’m just the lowly consultant helping with business plans and emergency situations and everything in between. Years ago it was simple things, like choosing the right software to manage inventory or helping to find enough used industrial shelving for a new warehouse or reviewing a business plan before it gets submitted to the bank.

Today my clients call me if their children are acting a fool. I go to my clients house, and talk to their teens, to their spoiled young adult kids. Here’s a tip: if you allow your 16 year old to have the entire finished basement to himself, plus every toy any kid can dream of plus money so that he doesn’t have to work, that kid will be spoiled no matter what anyone says to him.

As I begin moving some kids into college this year, it’s surreal. It’s like a dream that I’m just going along with. Just a few years ago this group was just a bunch of punk kids and teens making me angry with everything they do. I’d be screaming at them to smarten up. I screamed at some of them till they cried. I went over to their house and screamed at their crackhead parents.

I even went over to their drug suppliers residences to threaten them. Have you ever threatened a drug dealer twice your size, who has a loaded gun on his coffee table in front of you? I have, more than once.

I’ve also been super nice by buying them stuff and taking them out to eat often. Smoothing things over when they get into big trouble. Seeing this group graduate high school and get into college or university is amazing. As I help them fill out student loan apps and pick useful classes, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had good role models to help me do much better, to reach my full potential. That’s the part I hate the most, everyone around me and especially me, knows that I haven’t reached my potential at all. My teachers in school were right about so much.

I’ve been lecturing everyone about college. Stay away from booze, stay away from drugs, stay away from people who party. Focus on school, get part time work. Some people are so grateful they nod at everything I say and others are noticeably irritated at my nagging.

In 2011 I’ll move another group into college and then that’s it, I’m retired. LOL. Okay maybe not. I’m just getting tired is all.


In the 90’s I applied for student loans and then decided not to take them, I’ve been paying my college as I go, which means I do it much slower, but debt free. The ultimate goal is to earn a PhD or Doctorate. I don’t think I’m the PhD type but Ill go as far as I can. I should have done my entire life this way.

Growing up, we would use our possessions as gently as possible, and when we outgrew them, we would send them to Guyana. Sometimes I’d get irritated because it seemed like the better stuff would go to Guyana and I’d be stuck with crap. In grade 9 I wore clothes from Goodwill. I remember my $4 pair of jeans with someones name written on the inside tag. “Johnathan.” it said.

Shoes were the most annoying. My shoes were the cheapest shoes you could find. They would always be falling apart and I would repair them as best as possible. I would really wear my shoes out though. In grade 9, for about a full semester the entire bottom of my shoes had simply wore out so my socks and feet were actually touching the ground. It was embarrassing but so much other stuff was going on in life that I just went with it. When you’re defeated, you’re defeated and that’s how I spent most of my young life. I put my feet in plastic bags before I put them in my shoes, and that helped a lot. That’s not actually the worst. At Yorkview Public School there was a rule that you had to wear boots during certain weather conditions and change into clean dry shoes when you got to school. If you didn’t do this, you would have to walk around in your socks all day. Yorkview was a fantastic school. The teachers were overall very kind and we had a neat french immersion program which ensured that I got top grades in french my whole life. But this one rule was nuts. Of course I didn’t have a pair of shoes to change into, so I would always be in my socks, walking down the wet and cold hallways. People would ask why I was so forgetful to bring my “extra pair of shoes.” which I thought was simply a white people luxury at the time, and I would tell them to go to my house and ask my parents and get their head busted open in the process, instead of mine.

Now in terms of glasses, I used to have perfect vision. Then in grade 5 my vision started to slip. I couldn’t see the chalkboard even from the front row, but we couldn’t afford eye glasses. Well, maybe we could – when I told my parents / guardians that I needed glasses, they responded “no, you’re just bad.” Stupid monkey people.

Grade 6, grade 7, grade 8 my teachers would say “if anyone wants to come up to the front to copy off the board you can do that.” I wasn’t the only one, there were several people who really needed glasses. I got my first pair of glasses in December of grade 9 – the end of first semester, and I only got them because my french teacher told me not to return to his class unless I had glasses. The jackass made a mockery out of me in front of everyone, in front of all of my poor friends who couldn’t afford glasses. He was pretty much the most hated teacher in all of high school, everyone hated the guy. During class he would ask me to go get him paper towels from the bathroom, because his armpits were sweaty and he would need to soak up the sweat during class. Bloody french people, I thought to myself. I still think that actually.

I returned the next semester in his class with glasses, the cheapest pair we could find. Unfortunately 1 or 2 of my classmates couldn’t afford it and didn’t return to his class. Some of them didn’t even return to school.

This month I got myself new shoes, and new eye glasses, the kinds I wanted. And I gave a bunch of new clothes, shoes and new prescription eye glasses to people who really need them, who will make good use of them. It’s a nice feeling to take a car load of people to the mall, male and female, young and old and tell them “everyone get what you need and get something you want.”

One boy, age 14 put his brand new glasses on and told me that it feels so good to see properly and that he felt like crying.

I know the feeling.

White People

This month I updated my will. My phone bill was $65 which was a pleasant surprise. Knowing my cell phone company the bill could be $2,000 even if the phone was turned off and not used the entire month haha. This month I hid $500 under a college students pillow. The hardest part was getting my friend distracted enough to do it.

In Guyana there are mostly brown people. Second are black people. White people are a minority in Guyana and all of them are rich. When I was in grade school the teacher asked us what we want to be when we grow up, and I thought to my self “I want to be white people.” because to my understanding at that time in life, white people had it pretty good compared to others. They had family dinners, heck they had families. The parents took care of the children, instead of the other way around. They always seemed to have more money and more privilege than anyone else. Life seemed to be more fair for whites.

Later on I would learn that we are all exactly the same. We might have different cultural themes and stereotypes, but we are exactly the same. Black, white, brown, everything, we are all the same. We have the same conception, the same birth, the same milestones, the same goals. The same needs, the same desires. Our deaths are the same and thanks to Jesus our eternities (can be) the same.

A new method of pooing

In Guyana, at least when I was there and at my home and my neighborhood, there was no running water and no toilets. Our house was built on tall stilts because of constant flooding and the ground floor was dirt. No not dirty, it was made out of dirt. No tile, no carpet. South American ants would crawl on my leg and bite. My neighbors had mud floors and his house was made of basic sticks you could just look through. His children were usually completely naked outside. We used chamber pots kept under our bed and in the backyard there was an outhouse made of wood, with a wood bench with a hole in it.

One time we were visiting my aunt’s house. It was in a more modern city in Guyana with electricity, running water, even a radio! I wanted to use the bathroom and so I went looking for a chamber pot under all the beds but couldn’t find one. I even walked into her bathroom which had a modern toilet, a sink, a shower and I had no idea what those things were, I had never seen any of that before. I was 4 years old but I remember it so clearly. At my house we had barrels in the backyard that collected rain water, that would be our water for drinking and bathing. Any way I ended up just doing a big poo on my aunt’s bedroom floor. Then I went and told her what I did, she wasn’t happy.

Today I found out that the squat method of pooing is actually an old method still used in most of the world. I’m trying it for 6 months. You should try it to, it’s better for your digestion and colon health. You basically don’t sit on the toilet, you put your feet up on the seat. Use yahoo and search for the squat method and you can read a lot of interesting articles about the health benefits. Read the articles from medical professionals and testimonials from people. To your health!

I know a guy who’s wife spends $250,000 a month on herself

Most of my high school friends who graduated and went to college in the traditional sense are currently either unemployed, or employed and just barely making it or hating it. My other friends are in their 30’s and 40’s and still paying off student loans. I met one of my good former schoolmates and he went into engineering. I asked him why he did that, and he said that the high school counselor told him to. I asked him if it’s what he always wanted to do, he said no, he doesn’t know what he wants to do. He will be designing the bridges that we will all be driving on. He’s a good guy though. My point in saying this is that I really hate the rat race of life.

In both middle school and high school people started to really separate into groups (or clubs as I call them). You had the party girls, the dope smokers, the nerds and the loners to name a few. I wanted to be a loner but I would always end up being the leader of the nerds (and some times a loner). The party girls would sleep with as many people as possible and then boast about it during class. The dope smokers would usually be high and had a passion for video games. The nerds weren’t noble either. They would hack into the schools computer systems to look around and learn more about computers, we wouldn’t do mischief or cause harm, and we let our teachers know how to patch up these security flaws. There was this one time I was trying to impress a group of nerds so I set the libraries computers to sort of auto destruct upon boot up, but before anything bad happened I realized how stupid this was and undid everything before anything happened.

Instead, I ended up upgrading many of the schools computers in a way that completely delighted the school plus saved them tons of money. The staff was very happy with me. I enlisted my nerd friends to do a lot of good in my high school. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff anymore. I was an expert for a brief period of time and now I’m a beginner again, I don’t care to know anything about computers anymore, other than how to get my work done on them. I’m usually several software updates behind.

I’m still friends with some of the teachers and staff. Today I was talking to one of the previous staff members from high school, we were recounting some of my antics. He told me that he still talks about me to his circle of friends and colleagues – good stuff, mostly. I was in the food court of the mall today and one of the old nerd friends of mine asked if I could do some consulting for him. I hadn’t seen him since high school, but he walked up to me like we were still there. In a way I wish I was.

Any way, back to my talk about clubs – no club is perfect, but you’ll end up in one so choose wisely or you’ll have many regrets later on. One thing I’m glad of is that I never got into the cool people club. I hung out with them once or twice, but thankfully no more than that. Looking at them today, none of them have done anything with their lives.

In the year 2000 I was a member of an investment club, monthly membership was about $500. I think we had about 100 members. We would meet online at 8am, and have the chat window at the side of the screen. Some of these guys were geniuses. I witnessed a guy
make a 2,000% return in about 3 months and one guy claimed to make 12,000% in one year but we didn’t have any proof. Most people were conservative, aiming for 10% gains per month. I saw their stock trades. I saw what they were doing. I saw the buy orders and sell orders live on the exchange.

Around lunch time, trader all over take a break and you’d see the trading volume on the exchanges drop off. We use this time to relax and chat a bit, getting to know each other. I would catch up on studying mostly. One of my friends in the club said that his wife spends $250,000 USD per month on herself, every month. Month after month, year after year. Clothing, travel, fancy parties, jewelery. That’s how she lived and why he he was compelled to continue to work. Others continued to amass great fortunes because that’s what they loved to do.

On Jan 10 a squirrel tried to humiliate me, and it won. It started out with a squirrel visiting my balcony. So what did I do? I fed it a slice of bread. But it continued to show up daily and I didn’t have time to be feeding it everyday, so this one day I told it to go away, and instead it started using the bathroom on my balcony and eating my mountain bike seat. I put a slice of bread covered in hot pepper sauce hoping it would take a hint. That made it angry and it bit through my cable wire, cutting out my tv. While I saw it chewing the tv cable, I said to it “I’m going to go look up on Yahoo how to kill squirrels” and you know what it did? Yes, it then ate through the internet cable, cutting my internet access before I had a chance.

After I went to Canadian Tire and got some real squirrel repellant and I ran new wires (a big annoyance for me) for the tv and internet and cleaned up the pee and poo it left on my balcony.

Okay, so my friends asked me for like a real simple yet emotionally rewarding cool thing to do to brighten a persons day: so I shared with them a thing I’ve been doing for a long time.

I set aside $20, $100, $500 – whatever I can afford at the time and I keep a list of wonderful hard working people I know who could be blessed by it and then I hide the money plus an encouraging note where they would find it within 24 hours. I’m writing about this not to boast, I keep most of my giving private, but if you’re looking for a great idea like my friends are, this is one.

Last month I hid $500 and a card in a box of chocolate. The hardest part of this whole thing is when you go to the persons house, you need them distracted for enough time, for example when they use the bathroom. You have to move fast! I have been caught trying to hide $400 in someones shoe, $200 under a tin of baby formula. Another thing is you have to make sure it’s somewhere the person will actually check within a reasonable amount of time, make sure they just won’t throw the item away. For example with the chocolate, I put the money in an envelope under the first level of chocolates, so they would have to eat through that first level, pickup the plastic to get to the second level and see the envelope. They didn’t do this though, and to make things worse, I was at their house a few days later and they were asking me to pray because they needed $400 – and I was trying to drop hints to go eat some chocolates. Finally I had to flat out tell them to go look in the chocolate box for money, lol at first they might have thought it was a miracle and I was a prophet. Nope, I’m just a brown man trying to make it in this world.

Most people die at age 25 and aren’t buried till age 75

Benjamin Franklin is so right.

In 2001 I was asked to do a favor for someone, to hide millions of $ in cash and assets for a very wealthy person because he was about to go through a bitter divorce. I think he wanted me to help hide $10M CAD but I’m not sure anymore. I declined, as I always decline offers like this. Yes I was offered a generous commission and favors in return, and I’m sure some of the people reading this would say “asif’s an idiot, I would have taken the money.” Actually I got insulted for this, for declining. In this life, you get insulted for doing the wrong things which is to be expected, but you can be insulted much more for doing the right thing. There’s no winning sometimes.

I’ll close this entry on a positive note, this has been a good year overall. I worked hard, I prayed hard, I played hard. Every mission and evangelism and outreach project (except 1) did great, many people gave their life to Christ, also many lives were saved.

One of my favorite missions projects this year: Mission Planes. There are several big ones (big passenger liners) that have been converted into mobile hospitals. Licensed doctors are in them, they are fitted to take off and land almost everywhere on the African continent and each landing can help to do emergency medical for hundreds of people plus thousands of important vaccinations and health education for people who would otherwise not receive such attention.

There are several hundred small ones (double person propeller planes) that fly over different countries of the world, to remote tribes. They don’t always land, they usually drop important supplies + christian literature in local languages to villages and people that have no access to the outside world. One of my friends is currently flying one such plane over Australia as I write this. His adventures are too many to number, and hundreds of people are giving their life to Jesus. What a great year.

Don’t believe the hype

I was invited to a church on the east end several times and after some nagging I decided to check it out. When I drove up to the ultra massive building, many parking attendants guided my car to a parking spot. The place was so big, staff were driving around the parking lot in golf carts to keep things organized. On the inside of the main sanctuary, there were many tv cameras (I think I counted 6 real tv cameras). The music was good. To be fair I’m good with just about any kind of worship music. There were many announcements. Finally the speaker, a guest from Brazil, went up to the podium and began to speak. About a few words into her sermon I knew this was going to be a big nasty prosperity gospel money grabbing message which would make me angry, so I dint’ bother getting too comfortable.

20 minutes into the message, the speaker did something I’ve heard about but never seen in person. Gold colored material appeared on her hands and arms. She then made a claim it was pure gold and even had written verification from a supposed expert company, this letter was projected on one of the several large screens, it said that even diamonds were there too. lol. At that point hundreds of people ran up to the front and began rubbing her, as if she was a genie in a bottle. I couldn’t believe I was seeing this. I recommend people to churches all the time in different cities and even countries, and I was glad to scratch this church off my list. I just wish I could scratch it out of my memory.

I was waiting for the big kicker and it happened after a few more minutes. She proceeded to tell us that God just told her that we should all give her $100 today and if we do, God would bless us, but if we disobey, we would be in trouble with God. Hundreds, maybe more than 1,000 people ran up to the front and started throwing money at the lady. The room had maybe 3,000 or 4,000 people in it at the time, maybe more. I got up and walked out of the service. I’ll never return to this church but I know others who will, and I won’t try to convince them not to. I won’t say a word about it.

There are people who are dumb enough to believe the hype. Most of the people who ran up to rub the lady’s hips for her gold did it because they saw other people doing it first. The people running up to give their money, most do it because they see others doing it. Just because other people are doing something dumb doesn’t mean you should join in. The person who invited me is a well educated, super smart person who comes from a family of smart people, she’s regularly skeptical of everything. So it’s not just stupid people who fall for this stuff.

God doesn’t do these bizarre gold related ‘miracles’. They are not from God. But if you tell a person to just live faithfully and forget all that mumbo jumbo they get bored. People want the insanity. They want the hype. They prefer a sensational story instead of the plain truth. They want gold dust, they want a good speech about prosperity, they want to be lied to if it makes them feel good. They don’t mind if it puts their walk with God in jeopardy, as long as they stay entertained.

Today’s society hears the truth and refuses it. They prefer to buy into the lie, even if it costs them their eternal soul.


I was visiting with some old friends recently, people who don’t live far from me yet somehow time has gone by so fast that it has been years since we’ve seen each other. It was fun. Friends are getting older, fatter, having babies, buying houses, taking vacations. They ask me about my missions work and I ask them to set me up with nice girls. And they do! Just not the right nice girls for me. One time we were sitting in Wendy’s and they cornered me in and had me sitting beside a girl they wanted me to get to know. Lots and lots of great beautiful and smart girls, just not the right one for me. At least not yet.

Some of them are telling me that my wife-beating former associate has been talking crap about me still. Anytime he sees my circle of friends he tells them all kinds of stories. Any way we had a good laugh about it and they told me that they think he’s a complete loser, they listen to what he has to say then they laugh at him behind his back when he leaves. Actually he called me up on the phone a few weeks ago, I was surprised to hear from him. He was asking me to help him write a book on investing. I declined. I should have always been declining.

On another note, I’m kind of tired. Not like tired after a workout but tired of existence. I’d be perfectly happy if right now, right at this moment Jesus shows up and is like “it’s time to go home asif.”

So the consulting project I started late last year is complete and the last few months I started getting paid. I started by catching up with my bills which were desperately overdue and I’ve been enjoying the lower stress of having money coming in each week.

I’ve been bike riding on my own and I must say, after riding for several years with my friends, it really sucks to ride alone. I used to think that it was amazing because of the Trans Canada Trail, now I realize it was because of my cool friends. (who now live far away).

Any way, an old friend called today and asked me for a stock tip. He’s a good guy, a better man than me. I’ve been watching Apple Computers for a long time, and I’ve been watching Google since I was a teen. To a lesser extent Telus. I think all 3 of these would be good to buy and hold for 10 years or more, taking profit regularly. Apple because the CEO is a madman in a good way, Google because whoever controls search, controls the internet and Telus because…I don’t know, I think someone else gave me that tip. HAHA.

So I told my friend to do his research, set aside an amount of money he can afford to lose and then buy as much of apple as possible, buy as much of google as possible (it’s already an expensive stock unfortunately) and buy some Telus with the leftovers. Set a stop loss, say 50% (I know, big balls) and hold it for as long as you can stomach it. I also told him that I’m a nut job, and he shouldn’t just buy stocks based on what I’ve said, and that I could be wrong and that he might lose all his money if those stocks tank. That’s my standard disclaimer.

Girls shouldn’t go wild in public

I went over to Longos to treat myself to some delicious dinner items and on the way out I saw these 2 girls going wild. Basically they were chatting up such a storm while packing away their groceries in the back seat, that they didn’t even bother to close the back door of the car. The young lady, college aged, left the back door wide open and started driving away, continuing to chat. I dropped my items and ran after the car, which was trying to exit the parking lot. “Stop, stop you left your back door open” I yelled and yelled and they just continued to drive and to chat. As the lady was about to drive past a pole, which would have damaged the door significantly. She slowed down right near the pole and I ran as fast as I could and slammed the door shut just in time. She looked at me, laughed, and continued to chat and drive away as if nothing happened. I went back to the store entrance, picked up my bags and went home. Enjoyed a good dinner.

Mason and I took one last walk around Malton together. During our 1 hour walk which included Brandongate Drive and Morning Star Drive and Darcel Avenue, we saw 7 people being arrested at 7 different houses. Malton.

Unfortunately, the next day I helped him move far away. I’ve been doing ministry with them and been friends for a number of years, and they’ve taught me a lot and given me a lot of great opportunities, and I hope I’ve been a blessing to them as well. It is very sad to see good friends move so far away that you can’t really visit without making an entire day of it. Thank the Lord for text messaging and the internet, but still, it’s not the same. It took 8 of us about 7 hours and 3 vehicles to get everything loaded, and we still didn’t get everything completely loaded. We talked about our many fun adventures, exchanged hugs, and I watched them drive away. I keep trying to calculate how much time we’ve spent together doing work for the Lord and the number is between 9,000 and 10,000 hours. But others are saying only 4,000. Either way the number boggles my mind. It was all for the Lord. The number of lives saved, the number of people who gave their life to Christ. Who can keep track of it all?

Walking back home I realized that Malton won’t be the same without them. My first day in Malton, back in the 80’s wasn’t a great one. My new black neighbors told me that they wanted to move out of the city to get away from OTHER black people, which confused me at the time. They eventually did move, and by that time I understood. Anyway, the town has just been getting rougher and rougher all the time. The more good families that move out, the worst this town gets. Even right at this moment a man ran away from the police and dropped a small bag of white powder at the corner of Darcel and Woodruff. It’s just sitting there. I wonder if he’ll go back and pick it up. Maybe it’s just baby powder?

How the story ends

When I was in grade 2 there was a girl who was different from the others, I think she had a scar on her face or something along those lines. Forgive me if I’m wrong about that part.

She would be made fun of often. Kids can be really nasty and they tend to work in groups.

I came to her rescue this one time and after that she stuck by me always. She would always walk closely behind me, trying not to be seen by me. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know she was there, following behind me quietly smiling. When I would turn around and see her, she would freeze as if that made her invisible, first trying to figure out if she was in trouble, then smiling with relief after I smiled back at her.

Well one day I overheard a group of the bigger boys (this school went up to grade 5 or 6) saying they would pull down her underwear during recess to humiliate her in front of everyone. This horrified me, but being the complete moron that I am, instead of telling the teacher, I told them that I would beat them all up – all 6 of them. One of these kids, named Ronald, might as well have been Andre the Giant or Goliath. Compared to me, he was a big giant. And I was a scrawny little guy that got random nose bleeds and still wet the bed. Worst than that was that my teachers were used to calling 911 because I would randomly faint during class. I was a sickly kid, malnourished and already got beaten up at home. One time I threw up during the national anthem. One time I fainted during a test. Needless to say I wasn’t known as a tough guy in grade 2, at least not yet. Anyway they took me up on my offer, and during lunch break I proceeded to fight 6 kids to defend this girl. The deal was, I would fight them, and they would leave her alone. If I didn’t fight them, they would pull down her underwear.

It was amazing. Oh, no I can’t say that I won in the sense that I beat them all up, because they kicked the crap out of me, even made me swallow sand and dirt. I took punches to the face, my hair pulled, kicks to my balls, scratches. There was blood and tears. I got body slammed several times.

But I did my fair share of damage as well. I fought each kid one by one and sometimes 2 at a time. The worst is when one would try to hold me down while another beats me. Each one of those kids went home with cuts and bruises because of me. The nurse had to tend to our wounds. We all had bruises that would take a few days to heal. Each parent made an inquiry as to what happened to their child, except my parents.

The fight caused such a stir at the school that all the teachers were called, and my super nice teacher, Mrs. Wright cleaned me up. She thought I was amazing, and because of that, I thought she was amazing.

To this very day I still think about, and pray for that girl. I don’t remember her name anymore. I sometimes think it could be Jennifer, but I can’t remember. I hope she’s okay and the Lord knows that I did everything I could for her.

The Bible describes Satan’s fall from heaven, his rise to power, his rule over the earth and his final demise on judgment day, when God binds up Satan and throws him into the lake of fire, with all of his demons and all of his human followers. The bible goes on to describe how all of God’s people live happily ever after in heaven for all eternity. Most biblical manuscripts end the bible with the word Amen.

No matter what, that’s how our story ends. Amen.

Whiskey business is risky business

My first drink was beer, I was probably 6 years old. My guardians were having one of their wild parties where the police would usually be called and there was booze everywhere, so I had some beer. I was surrounded by drinkers from day 1. There’s a photo of me having my first drink, sitting in my red kiddy underwear smiling, holding a beer bottle. In front of me is a coffee table with several empties. That photo is usually on my fridge for me to laugh at every day.

Then in grade 8 I went over to my friend Steve’s house after school and I tried a sip of whiskey. In high school once or twice some girls spiked my soda with hard liquor. That’s basically it. That’s the drinking that I’ve done up to this point in a nutshell. Hardly anything.

Today I purchased one of those mini bottles of whiskey for $4, a single shot serving. I don’t know why, I was just at the mall and saw it and thought “maybe I can use it for cooking.” Except instead of cooking with it, I drank it. I’m in my mid twenties now so I figure that’s not so bad. I honestly consider this to be my second real drink.

My cell phone bill this month was like $850.

Mason and I walked over to the east side of Malton to pickup some furniture and an area rug, to take it over to M’s, who does not live in the east end. On the way to deliver it people would stop and chat with us, there would be little detours, and a piece fell and broke when we finally we got there. The area rug was the toughest because it would sag in the middle. We were so tired we didn’t even care. We didn’t drive this stuff over, it wouldn’t fit in a car so we carried it all over. After I took pictures from her high balcony of Malton. If you get rid of the bad people in this town, it’s actually a super beautiful town. But I guess you can say that about anywhere. To add insult to injury, M’s mom didn’t want the carpet, which was the biggest and heaviest item to bring over hahahahahah.

A few years back in 1999 or 2000 M’s mom was walking down Etude Drive in broad daylight and a black young adult beat her up and robbed her, she had $5. He probably used the money to buy drugs. Well I don’t know but I doubt he used it to buy books.

I’m enjoying the rainy weather a lot. Listening to music on my cd player, which was super cool when I bought it in 1997 but starting to age.

I asked a girl to hide $5,000 in her bra for me and she did

You’ve got to watch this new movie called Napoleon Dynamite. This is going to be one of my favorite movies for a very long time. If I had the skills to make a movie, this would be the one I would make. If the Lord asked me to choose my life, I might choose the life of Napoleon Dynamite.

In school, drama was one of the most fun times. By grade 8 everyone wanted me on their drama team. We would come up with unique skits based on books like War of the Worlds or To Kill a Mockingbird. In high school I quickly signed up for the drama class but thanks to all the dope smokers that also signed up (thinking they would get easy credits) I swapped it for Art, which was such a much better decision. (I’m not kidding, one guy pulled out his wiener and peed on the classroom carpet during class, this is the kind of crap teachers had to deal with). I still don’t understand why I didn’t sign up for art in the first place, or both.

In grade school there was an art contest that I won, and my painting, as far as I remember, a very well done tree against a forest was displayed in one of Toronto’s major galleries. Schools from all over came to see and children were with their parents. Except for me, as usual I was without mine. It didn’t completely matter to me, by that time I was usually paying my own way and signing my own permission slips. I was so proud of my work though, nobody could tell that a mean girl scratched a line across the trunk of the tree with her black felt pen. I painted over it and still won.

About a year later the art gallery mailed the piece back to my school, my school mailed it to me (I had moved from North York to Malton by then) and my grandmother threw it out, saying that it was against our Muslim religion to have such art in the house. I reminded her that we recently were taught at our Mosque that the same Muslim religion allows me to beat her for being so disobedient to me, but that didn’t fair very well for me. :) Come on I was like 9 years old.

I would get used to this though, this thing where I would build something and the family in my life would tear it down for one reason or another. Everything was an uphill battle. Nothing was simple. I hear about these young business people who succeeded in a big way and I try to find out about their home life. What kinds of beatings were they taking each day, how many busted noses did they have to clean up right before school, how many times did they come home to see all their possessions gone, how often did 100% of their money go towards family expenses?

Do some art, it goes into the garbage. Buy some neat toy for myself, it gets sent to Guyana to more needy children. Build a business, all the money goes into the family expenses leaving almost nothing for my needs and nothing to reinvest into the business. There were many times that I missed school trips simply because all my money went to the phone bill or car payment or an emergency. When I was in grade 1 I would purchase candy from a convenience store at Bathurst and Finch, reselling it for a profit at school. One day my mom found my money stash and not only did I get a beating, but she took away the money. I couldn’t understand her deep stupidity – I wondered at the time why we bothered coming to Canada if I wasn’t going to get any opportunity – and this was in grade 1!

Once in a while I’d be able to afford both family expenses and mine and I’d sign my own permission slip and have a great day on a school trip. I was about 15 or 16 years old when I dropped out of high school. A few days before I dropped out I brought like $5,000 cash to school, profit I had made doing computer related consulting, and asked a cute girl in the library to keep it in her bra for me till the end of the school day. I don’t know why I brought the money, or why I asked the cute girl to do it. I wasn’t having sex or anything like that, I wasn’t trying to show off I don’t think. I just thought it would be an interesting thing to ask a girl for. She did it to, right in front of me. It was so awesome.

My guidance councilor found out about it though, and called me to his office during math class. He asked me what was going on, my grades went from 90’s to 30’s rapidly. And I told him. He then called a bunch of my friends to his office to gather more info and gain references. By that time I tried to shore up my grades by paying some of the girls to do my homework, and some others to come to my house and be my assistant in my home office and that worked out well. One time, age 15, I was eating a deliciously prepared lunch, watching the Flintstones, while one girl cleaned for me and another was outside changing the tire tube on my mountain bike. My high school councilor listened to these things, and the testimony of my friends made his jaw drop.

This brings me to why I really like Napoleon Dynamite so much. I wonder what life would be like if that was it. No real problems, no real situations, just wake up, feed your Lama, go to school, ride your bike. Or be Kip and talk to hot babes on the internet all day.

In the movie there’s this man named Uncle Rico, and that’s exactly who I’m turning out be. Uncle Rico is old and feels all washed up. He thinks about the 80’s and how far he could have thrown a football. “If the coach would have put me in the championship game, we would have won.” I feel like that’s the story of my life. Being able to do something, but never getting a clean opportunity. Uncle Rico would trade it all for a time machine so he could go back and do it all differently. I would to.

Or maybe I’d just move forward. Why? Jesus promises that this life will be very tough for a lot of people, in fact He promises that it will be just a brutal challenge for most of His followers. The glory, the reward, that happens later.

Napoleon got his happy ending, one day so will every follower of Jesus. Ours will last for all eternity.