I Do It Because

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$1 Million Cash On My Coffee Table But I Rather Have Jesus

Overall, I didn’t make a profit this year. One business made money but the other lost, one investment went up and the other went down. When everything is all said and done, I lost money. I won’t know how much until an accountant preps my books but I’m sure it’s at least 5 figures. I worked like a dog. I worked all day. I took only a few days off. I pushed and pushed but it just seems like things didn’t work out. I’m exhausted.

Some of my notable 2006 expenses:
– $4,054 food
– $3,259 travel
– $3,086 banking
– $5,078 phone

Add that all up, multiply by 10 and I gave slightly more than that to outreach, evangelism, missions and new churches this year. Unfortunately I didn’t save anything, and I have a bad feeling about that.

So lets end this on a super happy note.

As I started driving out to Guelph for Dana’s wedding, it dawned on me again how fast life flies by. I met Dana online in 2002. We’ve become the best of online friends since then and met in real life in 2006. We only spent a little bit of time together in person, but hundreds of hours chatting online.

Dana’s dad and mom are pastors and missionaries. They’ve been all over the world saving lives. Their family and friends are missionaries as well. This kind of thing means the world to me. Dana grew up on the mission field and it’s molded who she is today.

The long drive to her city was a bit tiring for me, and I’ve done the drive many times to visit my sister at school. When I got to the church my jaw dropped, partially because from the outside it looked like it was sinking into the ground, partially because it looked like it was 1,000 years old. It was covered in beautiful wood and stone.

I met J for the very first time but I heard about him from Dana a lot. J’s family are also missionaries and J has been all over, especially Indonesia where he tells me his hobbies included swinging from vines in the jungle like Tarzan. I setup my camcorder and camera equipment and recorded the short and beautiful wedding ceremony. After, I gave Dana and J their hugs and went about my life for a few hours while the professional photographer took photos.

The reception was in a beautiful updated community centre. When I got to the reception we did more videotaping, we ate the most delicious foods from all over the world (seems like almost everyone was a missionary so they knew about all the different kinds of foods from all the different cultures). It wasn’t catered, people from all over the world cooked food. I had some delicious basmati rice with red curry. Most of the people there were white but collectively they had done church ministry work everywhere worldwide. The food was beyond amazing. The fact that a white person made curry better than brown people made me think.

I walked around and talked to men and women, children and adults, young and old. Many people were simply on break from a 2 year mission trip. Some were heading back to the airport in a few days to start a new mission trip or continue one. One young man told me he won’t be going into missions. “I’m going into business, someone has to stay here and pay for these missionaries to go do what they do, someone has to provide the money, it doesn’t grow on trees you know.” hahahaha! A man after my own heart. He was currently in business school and everyone in his family were full time missionaries. I had a good conversation with him. I talked to teen girls who weren’t into the latest pop music or celebrities but instead talked endlessly about 3rd world villages being transformed by the salvation message of Jesus. Can we trade some of these teens with our spoiled brat teens?

After the reception was over, I helped pack away the reception hall as is my custom, and to my shock all of the young people helped as well – without being asked. They were picking up and packing the folding tables themselves and doing it more efficiently than me. I was amazed and remembered again that missionaries have a lot to teach us. These kids aren’t concerned with what they can get for Christmas, but what they can give. I work with teens everyday and I’ve been trying and trying to teach them these values.

I said my farewells to everyone after it started getting late and I drove home that night in amazement of God. Even right now as I type this, I’m just floored. All those missionaries, in one room at the same time. If we could get them to stay in one city of Canada for 2 years they would transform the city. It’s one reason I’m happy to go overboard funding missions work.

On a silly note, while at the reception I was also honored to be the only colored person there. Everyone was white except for me. That is until 4 of Dana’s friends from school showed up late who were brown and black. After everything was finished I sat down with them and we all laughed about how cool it is to be a minority sometimes, especially when everyone else is so nice.

You know what, I can’t stop talking or thinking about this. I met over 100 amazing missionaries, yes I counted over 100 and talked to almost every one of them. I walked around the room shaking peoples hands and introducing myself. Dana’s whole family are missionaries for life and so are J’s. People of all ages, all educations, all kinds of skill sets, who have collectively been to almost every country in the world representing Jesus. Countries I’ve never even heard of! It was one of the most amazing experience for me to be in their presence.

Let me explain this better:

I was 17 years old. Summer. It was approaching evening. I had a home office packed with regular customers. The doorbell rang. 2 large black men came inside. They didn’t say a word. Both were carrying a Price Chopper grocery bag in each hand. 4 bags in total. They emptied the bags in front of me, on my fake wood coffee table.

$100 and $50 bills, Canadian, American and Euro currency. I stacked that money into separate piles of $30,000 each. It was so much I had to call my friend Steve to help. Steve was in the other room (my home office) dealing with some of our clients. When he saw the pile of money he was literally speechless. I mean literally. I thought he was going to faint. He stuttered a few words and then started counting. Steve’s been my buddy since grade 3.

We made over 30 piles, and counted almost $1 Million in cash. We sat there, looking at the money like it was a super hot girl. After we finished doing that, we packed the money neatly in a suitcase and rolled it over to the bank. The lady at the bank snapped at me saying “this line is for business only.” When we opened the suitcase a bit to show her, her mouth opened up so big I thought I could fit my head inside. Because of the sum of money some paperwork had to be done to make sure everything was in order, then we deposited the money just like we were depositing a paycheck for $400. Most of the money was then wired to Germany. When I got back home I logged into my dial up internet access, using my Cyrix 686 with 32mb of RAM and sent an email to a German company: “Hi, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Asif Zamir, and I’ve just wired you $XXX,XXX.XX Please send the shipping container(s) to this shipping port and address…”

I should take a moment to mention the following:
– the whole thing was completely legitimate and fully legal
– nothing illegal was going on
– i never have that kind of cash in my home
– the cash wasn’t mine
– the shipping containers were filled with food-commodities going to a developing country to be sold at retail.
– cash was being used because the business owners involved were used to dealing with only cash. Later on they switched to more updated payment methods.
– it only sounds very shady when I talk about it

Needless to say, that was an interesting day for me, a 17 year old boy. But this day, this wedding of my great friend Dana and the reception where I met and talked to and prayed with 100 missionaries, and having some of them pray over me – and hearing about hundreds of thousands of souls being won for Jesus, about communities being changed and lives being completely healed, about the expansion of the faith and hundreds of new church plants doing well – this is truly more amazing to me than all the money in the world.

2006 by Asif Zamir

Each day I’d wake up, do my work, do some school, practice guitar. Of course I’m at church 4 or 5 times a week. If you only go once a week then you’re an amateur, and if you go less than once per week you’re a Catholic. Tuesday Mason takes the bus to Brampton and I’d drive him home, sometimes we’d hang out at Margaritas house eating delicious Jamaican food and playing boardgames. Thursdays I drive downtown Toronto to pickup Mason and Cassie and drive them home. Saturday is party night. Now by party night I don’t need booze and drugs, I mean movies and pizza and planning our volunteer and ministry work. What I like about my friends and the people I hang out with: If I invite them to feed the homeless with me, they don’t argue, they just show up. If I challenge them to stand on a street corner with me to share our faith in Jesus with strangers, they rise to the challenge and sometimes out do me.

We do weekly homeless ministry, special kids ministry events, and mostly I work with teens these days. I’ve started reading fiction books again! It’s because of my sister. She left this annoying looking book called “King Jerry” in the bathroom cupboard where I keep my books. I ran out of Archie’s so I was desperate. I picked it up and I couldn’t put it down! Next I found myself reading “How I paid for College”. I actually stayed up and read that for 7 hours. Now I’m back to reading new Gordon Korman books. I know they are only for young people but who cares. Youth is wasted on young people. (By the way Son of the Mob 1 and 2 by Gordon Korman). I haven’t read fiction books in over 10 years. I’m loving them again. On the other hand I read non fiction books daily. I read at least 1 per month on any topic. Business, real estate, finance, investing, marketing, law, Canada, history, American history, firearm safety, survival. You name it. Church is my favorite place to be. The library and bookstore is my second favorite places to be.

This week we are taking a group of teens paint balling. Then Mason and Eggbert will go off to London for their Christmas vacation for 18 days.


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.


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.

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?

I hate summer

If you’re reading this and you know me, then you know that I’m a workaholic. I’ve been battling this for years. As soon as the sun rises, I like to be up and working. As soon as the sun sets, I finish up for the day. In the summer the days are long, and so I work as long as it’s bright outside. This leads to burnout, and so I’ve begun to hate summer. I’ve actually ruined relationships simply because I’ve been too busy to care about anything else. When I was younger this problem was worst, I would actually skip occasional nights of sleep – I mean entire nights, just so I could work more and get ahead. I don’t have that kind of energy anymore so I do sleep a full night for the most part.

Over the last few years I’ve gotten really involved in digging fresh water wells in third world countries and the costs are so variable. In one place a well can cost $2,500 because you don’t have to dig very deep, in other places $300,000 or more depending on the engineering and machinery involved. I used to have a goal of like 10,000 fresh water wells but when I realized how impossible that number was I lowered it to like 1,000 and I think I’ll just lower this to like 100 or less because it’s such an uphill struggle. If it was the only thing in my life I could put more energy into it, but as I’m typing this, I’m also holding a baby and tonight we are going to help someone move.

I really hate summer.