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.


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.

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.

the roof is on fire

A good teacher is priceless. And I do believe that it takes a community to raise a child, especially these days where there aren’t many good parents left in Canada. In middle school I would visit my primary school teachers. In high school my friend Corey and I would visit our middle school teachers. In college I would visit my high school teachers. I’m still friends with some of them, and a lot of them are in the retirement stage. I fear for them though, because even though most of them are in a stage of retirement, the ones who are left might be fired for what is being called politically incorrect or intolerance. Back in my days teachers were in charge of the kids and allowed to teach and say whatever they wanted to say if it would raise up good men and women. For example our gym teacher Mr. K taught us about being responsible, my English teacher Mrs. Bell taught us to wait till we are married to have sex. Today she might be forced to hand out condoms. Today the kids are in charge and the teachers can only say what is politically correct, even if it’s wrong. And because of this I fear that many of Canada’s children will grow up to be wimps. I think the bully problem will get worst and based on what I see on the net, things are getting worst in society.

Anyway about 10 years ago Corey and I visited Mr. Morris and incredibly, not only did he still remember me but he still had an unfinished project of mine tucked away near his desk. He pulled it out from his files and asked me to finish it. I told him no lol but I was amazed that he had my unfinished homework.

He taught me several life lessons I still use to this day:

– Sometimes rules need to be broken. Middle school had a serious rule that only 1 person per class was allowed to go to the bathroom at a time. One day one of our classmates was moving away to Kingston Ontario and was crying, Mr. Morris let her go to the bathroom with a girlfriend. He said no at first, then said yes when he saw her crying.

– Get a different perspective on problems when you are stumped. He would do this thing where he would write a complicated problem on the chalk board and pretend he was solving it with us. He would pretend he didn’t know the answer, get up from his desk and go stand in a bizarre corner of the classroom. He’s say something like “I need to see this problem from a different angle.” I still do this to this day.

Now here’s one of the real reasons I really liked him: At that time in life, grade 8, I didn’t know anything about computers, I used to make fun of people who had them, “oh hi I’m Asif, I’m a genius, I have a computer, I can help you with your taxes.” is what I used to say to people who had computers. Many of my classmates had them though. Mr. Morris would ask me to fix computers and it got me out of class. I don’t know if he thought I knew about computers, because I didn’t, I rarely ever touched them at the time. It could have been some kind of lesson he was trying to teach me. But I would learn all about it because the more computers I could fix for the school, the more class time I could avoid. I ended up fixing just about every computer at that school, while getting full class credit.

He is on my list of favorite teachers. Of course today he can’t pull those kinds of stunts. Kids like me would be heavily medicated and given false disabilities. He would simply be fired for giving too much homework or for pushing kids too hard. Teachers are no longer in charge, it’s nut job parents and kids who are in charge, and if their children don’t want to do their homework, the parents just complain till the teacher gets fired. Get their children falsely diagnosed with some fake disability and over-medicated. I see parents all the time who complain that their child has ADHD, when really they are just bad parents and their child is spoiled rotten. Okay, obviously some of the kids have real disabilities, but every reasonable adult knows that most people fake it. Go ahead, ask your doctor.

The last day of Lancaster middle school was filled with action, one of the local dope smokers lit the school on fire, apparently starting with the massive stage curtains in the gym. Turns out that now many years later the school will undergo a massive renovation.

A few years later in high school when I was walking up Airport Road back to Malton, this same kid caught up with me for a chat. He lived in one of the newer, nicer houses and had a lot of toys. People told me he was basically a spoiled brat who was always on playtime. He ruined that last day of school for us, my backpack had some of my prized possessions inside at a time in life when I didn’t have very much at all. It was lost due to the fire.

Fast forward to when I was in high school, he was coming home from his probation meeting or something like that and I was coming home from job hunting. I considered pushing him off the sidewalk into traffic but during the long walk with him I thought it through. Too many witnesses first of all, but more than that, I felt sorry for him. He was a real loser. Today I hope and pray that he’s doing better.

Today I woke up, had some tea, read the bible, worshiped, spent time in prayer, then I worked to around 530pm, then did some errands. For dinner I had a salad and a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds. As a treat I have cotton candy. Now I’m typing up this journal and hopefully I’ll watch some tv tonight, go out for a prayer walk and be ready for bed around 11. Almost every day I’ve been doing a lot of biking riding all over the trans Canada trail and Malton with Mason and Eggbert. Sometimes we invite others along and it’s really fun. One time we went to Woodbine Centre after to get Chinese food and another time we went to Popeye’s at Albion Road to get biscuits. I like getting discount clothing from Albion Mall. They have track suits there for $8.

I have this box of precious memories, I call it my treasure chest. My grandma would usually throw out every good thing I had, so it was a struggle to keep certain things hidden within the furniture of my bedroom. I’ve amassed a small box with hundreds of little important trinkets that I like to look at. I’ve been keeping them in a secure location the last few years, I have them with me again. This month I’ve been looking through it, organizing it as best I can. There’s my stamp collection, stock certificate collection, old currency collection, fathers day cards to me. Photos, old video tape, there’s notes written to me by children that say “I love you Asif” or “Asif I wish you were my dad”, drawings, old letters, report cards that say “Asif can do better.” If those teachers would have spent a few nights at my house they would have given me straight A’s.

My neighbor across the hall does Tae Kwon Do. She seems to get locked out of her apartment often. On May 13 I invented a really good lemon chicken recipe. I own 2 pairs of shoes and I’m happy with that.

On May 29, Mason and I did our longest bike riding adventure so far. 7 hours in total, we rode from Malton to Harbor front in Toronto. We used the Trans Canada trail, riding through forests and so on, so it wasn’t a direct route. We didn’t ride for speed, but for enjoyment. When we got to harbor front we took a break, ate a hot dog from a street vendor, and then started the ride back. I saw chipmunks up close for the first time, and there was a shot my camera couldn’t get – we were riding through a forest, on a dirt path, something like you’d see in a movie. The sunlight pierced through the trees and it looked like beams of light shining through. We got back after dark. Talk about work out. Talk about fun.

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.

I’m so busy I can’t keep up with anything anymore

I’m so busy I can’t keep up with life. Wake up, push food down my throat so I can get some nutrition, hurry off to work for 9, get off at 430, hurry to school, get off at 8, hurry over to church, get home by 10pm, and this 6 days a week.