An Asif Zamir Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 Kids At The Children Christmas Party

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

Babies Require Less Attention

So last week I got a flat tire, it really frustrates me because that car sure takes a whole lot of my time, like a new born baby. I prefer babies.

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

Old Technique No Longer Works

I used to get back $26 in income for every $1 I spent on advertising, now it’s down to $3. The economy is taking everything away from small business owners. I don’t know how the general consumer is doing. I’ve been telling all my clients to cut back and I’ve been cutting back also. I’ve already cut back on my expenses by over 50% so far this year but I need to do further cuts.

I don’t have a car anymore. It’s gone, the repo man took it. On a brighter note I got 14 fathers day cards this year so far. :)

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.

So Many Teenagers

Took the teens at church to Sega City Playdium. Took 4 full cars and they had a blast playing videos games, something I rarely ever do. It was a nice evening. I find that teens need constant advice, sometimes the same advice over and over no matter how smart they are. And they less street smart they are, the more in trouble they get no matter how much book smarts they have. Book smarts are almost worthless in the real world if you don’t have street smarts or experience. Outreach / Homeless ministry downtown is going well also but I’m too tired to write about it.

Halloween Night 2006

Last night I went over to Mason’s house around 6:30pm. Traffic was hard. Well anyway, we handed out a lot of bags of candies to kids. Each bag had a little note about Jesus. Only one person (Katie) objected, saying that we shouldn’t’ hand out “Jesus stuff”. She also said she hoped we got beaten up because of it. Honestly, if I am to be beaten up, for the sake of the gospel it would be okay. The candy was delicious and all the kids enjoyed it, so what if there’s a note inside each pack that tells them that God loves them?

So after Mason and I handed out lots of treats to both children and youth, we went to the church to drop off the photo cd from the children’s carnival. Then we went and picked up Eggbert from university, then we dropped them home while having some of our legendary conversations. After I went home, and got home around 10pm with McDonald’s. I went to bed late though, about 1am.

2006 Halloween is for Kids

Friday evening I picked up Mason and we went out to play some video games which is something I never do. After we went to Jack Astors to eat some dinner and talk about the women in our lives. That was a very short dinner.

I didn’t get to sleep until 1:30am (big mistake). Saturday morning I woke up at 7am. I was exhausted! Anyway, I drank coffee, ate some mini wheat (So did Mason and Eggbert). I picked them up at 9am. It was raining pretty hard. We got to church around 9:20. We setup things till 11am. I was doing photography and helping with the plinko game and keeping the children happy. Hundreds of children enjoyed pony rides, a bouncing castle, music, prizes, basketball, ring toss, crafts. We had a good (but exhausting time) till about 3pm, then we started taking everything down. At 3:45 we left, at 4:15 Mason and Eggbert were home, and by 5pm I was home. I basically laid down on the floor till bed time.

I’ve been doing this kind of thing since 1997, at least once per week, and up to 5 times a week.

Decent Weekend

I had a really nice weekend. It’s Monday now, but Saturday morning I woke up, made a good breakfast, then showered and left for Freddy’s niece’s confirmation party. The Catholics are always looking for a reason to party lol. We drove for about 2 hours in traffic because of a rain storm and corresponding accident. When we got there it was a bit weird at first because of all of the 50+ people I didn’t know, just sitting around tables chatting in Italian. We sat down, met some people and then ate for about an hour. Okay, let me say this – us brown people, maybe have 5 things at our feasts and all involve curry. These Italians, probably had 65 delicious food items. I walked around for about an hour to burn off some calories, then we sat outside for about an hour, then I came back inside for about an hour, having conversations with different people.

I even saw a young lady that looked just like Lorili Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls!

We stayed about 4 hours and then left, driving towards Casino Rama. When we got there I decided to spend about $40 (I ended up spending $60). I won nothing.

What surprised me about that casino was that there is a high roller room, where you can do a max bet of $300 per spin on a slot machine! One guy had about $4000 and was doing $60 spins at a time.

Anyway, after that we left and drove home. We had some really good conversations and it was fun. We got home and went to sleep.

On Sunday I relaxed most of the day, but put in a good 8 hrs doing laundry, chores and the dreaded – computer reformat. I finally upgraded to Windows XP. About 4 years after everyone else. I still miss Windows 3.11

Today I’m just dreading my work. Working, and dreading it! Nothing is going right. From broken down computers to orders gone missing to stupid stupid employees who are doing mostly the wrong things, I’m just not succeeding.


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.

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.

Satan loves the little children, in the wrong way

I’ve never had a laptop computer of my own. But I’m buying them for others and I like that. College kids do better with a laptop because they can carry them around. So far this year I’ve given away 3 computers to kids going to school. I wish I could afford new computers for everyone in my life who needed them but I’m not there yet. There’s always more need than there is money. It doesn’t matter how much money there is, there is always much more need.

I helped my sister move to college. The long drive made us tired and grumpy but the ultra massive campus energized us right back up. When she was small, and up to grade 6 I would drop her off at school and pick her up after. She’d bring her friends along after so I could walk them home to. I would always try to get her home as fast as possible because I had to work. She says that this one time, someone beat her and so I beat up the kids older brother, who was in my grade, but I don’t remember that.

She’ll be sharing her average sized dorm room with a good friend so that was comforting. Her window overlooks the sports field. Bathrooms are directly across the hall but they have to share with the entire floor of girls, which would drive me insane. I used the girls bathroom while I was there. While we were unloading her stuff, there was a boy outside wheeling a large keg across the campus, I’m going to assume it was filled with gingerale.

This summer I gave money towards a children’s church program, where they invite several hundred kids from the community to come and learn about God and stay out of trouble. It’s really needed during the summer because the parents (if there are any) are at work and many children are left home alone. This way they’ll be at church all day, 5 days a week and they really do love it. Some don’t want to leave after. Heck some actually don’t have anywhere to go after. I used to drive some of them to church and home from church and some as young as 10 years old would tell me to drop them off at some corner, and then I would watch them walk into the dark distance, no house in sight. Local authorities told me they can’t keep up with the need. It’s not unusual for a random parent I’ve never officially met to bring me their child and say “keep them for the day” and then walk away.

A few months before Mason moved in 2004, we were at one of those fancy grocery stores in Etobicoke that sells non food items also like clothing and BBQs. While walking down the clothing isle, we saw a rack of clothing – thong underwear for girls “aged 9-12” according to the sign. At first I figured it was a mistake but when I made a complaint to the manager, he said the items in question would be reviewed, and also that in all fairness, mothers were purchasing the items for their young daughters. I realized that Satan makes his biggest investment into children to corrupt them, and so we need to make a bigger investment into children, to save them. And apparently there are many thousands of stupid Canadian moms buying thongs for their 9 year old. I’ve counseled some that push their daughters into sex and drugs but yet restrict their church attendance. Some people think it’s normal for a 13 year old to be sexually active, to drink and party but they feel it’s not right to go to church!

Satan has convinced a percentage of society to follow him and that percentage grows bigger each year, each generation. It starts with the children and we need to instill in them a message of hope and salvation through Jesus. Jesus is the cure for this.


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!

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.

Old things can lead to new things, new things can lead to old things

In Guyana, I slept on a real bed with my grandmother. Her house cost her $500 USD cash back in the 50’s and is still standing strong today. Maybe some Canadian construction companies can learn a thing or two? When we moved to Canada, I slept on the floor for the first few years. I had a sponge to sleep on and it was perfectly fine. When I turned 7 years old I got my first bed. I gave that bed away a while back, and I’m now sleeping on the floor again which is very enjoyable for me.

My friends call me a minimalist. I like to give away my things and have the least amount of possessions as humanly possible. I don’t even like having multiple pens.

I’m at the gym 5 days a week even in the winter. I walked through like a foot of snow and ice cold wind to get to the gym, which has been moved to the other side of town while renovations are happening at the main location. One of the long time trainers was there and I asked her for some advise, she complimented my little muscles. Yes, I will be extending my membership!

I helped Mason with his job hunting, writing his resume and handing it out with him in many places. He got a job at Woodbine Centre, specifically he helps a woman’s lingerie / underwear department. He’s as happy as can be and all I hear from him is about how great his job is. He text messages me to tell me about how happy he is to be walking to his job (he even goes early), he texts me during breaks to tell me about his adventures, he even stays late after work. He goes on and on about the beautiful women he helps all day and night. I’ve never heard anyone speak so happily about their job. I haven’t achieved this yet. Most people haven’t. Most people aren’t super excited to go to work, most don’t stay late on purpose.

I visited him there, well, I went there to spy on him, and the dude was helping women choose lingerie with a huge smile on his face. I watched him smile for like a good 10 minutes straight. I was laughing because I thought it was hilarious, and I was at awe at how this young man had reached such a great level of happiness so fast. I’ve known him about 7 years and never seen him smile so much. Most of us will never reach that level of happiness at a job, or at anything, ever.

So the consulting project I’m working on right now will provide me with an income for 2 years. Not a big income, but enough to pay my rent, car, gas, phone, insurance, etc and several decent sized missions projects. I’m also going to try to do a big project along side this one and see if I can get a small bank to like my idea. Problem is it won’t actually pay me for like 4 more months which is making things really tight around here. Another risk is that I won’t get paid at all, this has happened several times and leads to great discouragement. Nobodies fault, that’s just the way it is. I’ve consulted for companies that have gone under part way though, and I didn’t find out till I visited the office to see the eviction notice on the door. Other times I’ll find out that the company I’m working with / for has been purchased by another company and all the previous management fired or replaced – and they have no idea who I am. And yes once in while things will work out better than expected and I’ll do better than expected and get paid more than expected.

I’m still in the beginning stages of this project which involves making a lot of phone calls, I’m on the phone almost all day doing my research, which is annoying but still better than traveling. My little suitcase is gathering dust, I like that. Maybe one day soon I can give it away to.

Most of my friends have internet access now. So we all chat online after work. It’s so different. No waiting weeks or even months for letters to arrive in the mail from my missionary friends, or phone calls at hours with static connections. They are basically in countries all over the world which makes communication difficult. Pretty much all of them have some form of internet access now. Time zones aren’t even such a bother anymore. One of my friends doing missions in the Ukraine got spat on, simply because she was there and the person didn’t like Christians. I’m currently trying to gain steam on an Orphanage in the Ukraine, at the rate I’m going this project will be done, realistically by the year 2015. I started it in 2001. It breaks my heart but it’s the best I can do. I hate that so much but it’s out of my hands. Some projects move fast, some move slow.

If Frodo can do it then so can we

Yeah I watched part 3. I got the books for Christmas as well but I can’t read the books after I watch the movie. Spoiler alert: Frodo did it. He completed his quest and lived happily ever after. Find out from God what your quest is, then spend your life on it. Heaven is your happily ever after.

The past couple of years for me has been almost non stop adventure and bizarre circumstances, one after another. 2003 was an awesome roller coaster, I spend today looking at my journals for the year. There aren’t very many because I’ve been so busy doing so much. Moving into 2004, I’m hoping for like, no adventure. Just a nice boring existence. Winter has set in nice and good and I’m enjoying it.

In Canada, there is talk about legalizing drugs. I don’t care if we do, as long as whoever does drugs doesn’t expect society to pay for their mistakes. I talked to my doctor about doing anabolic steroids just to try them out, and after getting his good advise, I tried some.
This was last year – I did a very short, 2 week cycle of testosterone precursors called androstenedione or something like that. Why did I do it? Call it youthful curiosity. I wanted to see what would happen. Maybe I just wanted a boost.

When I was a teen I setup a makeshift gym and fight club in my garage, people from the neighborhood would come to fight or lift weights. We didn’t have any good equipment, a home made squat rack, a portion of a skid for calf raises. Different sizes of plastic weights. I filled a large US Army issued carryall bag part way with sand and we used that as a punching bag, when we weren’t using each other for punching bags. People would come over asking for me and my grandmother would use her fists to do a boxing motion and would say “asif is boxing, he’s boxing”.

The dealer I bought the stuff from was the size of a bear and he said the stuff works – and boy did it. Strength and endurance went up through the roof almost right away. I think I did over 100 full pushups and 25 full pullups and went about my day like it was nothing. I can’t believe this stuff is completely legal in America. I bet that lots of young people will start to do steroids. At the 2 week point I started to feel like it would turn me into a flesh eating zombie so I threw out the rest of the supply and lost most of my gains. My doctor (who I spoke to through this whole process), laughed and laughed. He told me that when I’m much older, in my 50’s that I should ask him again, and maybe we can do it properly and in a way that actually benefits me permanently.

Which brings me to my Merry Christmas and Happy new Year message: Sometimes it’s a good idea to abandon your direction. Sometimes the plan sounds smart but will lead to stupid results. Sometimes the outcome isn’t worth the consequences. Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is to stop, and walk away. To give up doesn’t mean to lose. Sometimes the biggest losers are the ones who don’t know when to give up.

Family Reunion

Lets start off with me venting then conclude with something good.

Have you ever tried to do something good, and have it blow up in your face? This happens to me often, and I never seem to learn, and chances are I haven’t learned this time either. I helped someone get an apartment by paying first and last, 6 months of rent, signing my name for the apartment and helping them to move in.

The moving in was fun, because something good was being done for someone with a baby. I’ve done this many times before, and I will do this many times again. The apartment was nice, it did need an initial cleaning as most do, and in a crawl space were many empty beer bottles. Eggbert, and I packed what seemed to be 500 empty beer bottles into my car. We saw some grouchy church people pass us by holding all the beer bottles, shaking their heads. Later I would learn that a rumor was started that Eggbert and I were having a fling and that we were both drunkards.

Now for those of you who have never done this you’re thinking “ah, he shouldn’t have put up the money.” No. It’s the putting up my name where I shouldn’t have. This person over the course of 6 months has turned the apartment into a pile of poo-poo, like literally. I’ll explain more after. It started with the landlord calling me at all hours complaining that the tenant was not home, and the 2 year old baby was alone, crying. I couldn’t believe this to be true so I would go over to get some answers. I would get further calls of noise and dirty smells coming from the (basement) apartment, I would go over and get some answers. This got worst and worst until I got a call that the tenant had left, and that I should come over to see the apartment.

I went over, with 4 other friends, the same that helped move her in just a few months prior. Well, what we saw is something we are still talking about, something we’ll be talking about for a long time to come. A 800sq ft apartment turned into a garbage dump. Dirty baby diapers piled up into the bathtub (HOW DID YOU SHOWER?) and garbage everywhere. I mean, everywhere. I mean really everywhere. We brought 10 large garbage bags with us, and I had to go to the store to buy 40 more. Yes 40 more garbage bags.

There were some items we thought to be in good condition; particularly clothing and baby items and so we took those over to the goodwill donation truck at the Westwood Mall. The intake manager was delighted to get so much stuff all at once. It was such a stressful night that after I took everyone to Mandarin so I could drown my sorrows in shrimp and honey garlic ribs. A few days later we would read in the paper about a Mississauga goodwill donation that had to be burned because it caused the staff to get sick. We jokingly laugh, with a touch of fear that it could have been the donation we made.

The worst part of this story? The landlord told me she trusted me when she took in this tenant, and now she doesn’t trust me. I do this thing all the time. This year so far I’ve paid for 3 peoples first and lasts, 2 turned out very well and this one blew up in my face.

And now to some good stuff as promised. My friends invited me to go to their family reunion. I jumped at the opportunity because I’ve never been to a family reunion. I’ve seen them on tv in movies, but my family doesn’t do that kind of thing. This started off with a drive out to the country. A farm, maybe 10 acres or more. When we drove up I thought “wow look at this massive property.” Turned out that was simply the front yard. The backyard was 10x bigger and had several crops growing including corn which we would later pick, roast and eat.

We arrived rather early, and just helped with the cooking and the setup. One of my favorite things to do is walk around, so I walked around. I walked up and down that country road, enjoying the absolute nothing that was out there. Back at the property people were starting to arrive, young and old. The children wanted to play so we did some Frisbee games. I sat on a tractor. I had conversations.

Now it was the conversations that made this family reunion so much fun for me. So many different generations of family, from babies, to grandparents and I think there was a great grand parent as well.

God does the same thing for us. He invites everyone into His gigantic family which consists of all kinds of people of all ages and all backgrounds. Strangers are welcomed in and treated as family. And there’s lots of food :)

We spent the time talking and talking more, taking photographs, laughing, telling jokes. Someone told me they were going to propose to someone else, and then that someone else asked me what that someone said, but I won’t tell. I will be at the wedding though :)

Keeping my head above water

Okay so Peterborough last month was fun, so what happens when you do something fun? YOU DO IT AGAIN!

The trip started very early in the morning so we could get to Peterborough and do some major ditch digging. A friends house was being flooded constantly, and so several us would spend the better part of a day digging a ditch along one side of the property to run a proper drainage system so the water would run away from the house. The hardest part of this was hitting tree roots.

During breaks we did fun things – I played with the fattest and cutest dog in the world named Waketa, and I let Eggbert (age 13 or 14) steer my car while I push it down the street (the car was powered off and in neutral). I figured when I was her age I was already driving on the highway, she should at least get to sort of drive.

Waketa was in the back of the car and having a blast. I don’t know what kind of dog she was, a collie I think? Similar to Lassie. Except Waketa is super duper fat. She brought me a bottle of water while I was digging. Now that’s a good dog! Wouldn’t it be nice if all dogs were this great? Instead of just barking early in the morning or pooing all over the place.

After ditch digging was done, it was time to head on over to this other house for fun time. This house backed onto a lake, which as you know is one of my favorite things. We all swam and did a BBQ. The neighborhood children (2x 10 year old girls) came over to swim as well, and they both took a liking to me right away. I think it’s mostly because I’m super fun, and partially because I’m brown which is a huge novelty here. They were definitely country girls who’s lives consisted of swimming in the lake and the like. It was such a fun day and I wish I could do this kind of stuff everyday, even if I had to start it out with hard labor in the hot sun.

Actually I learned to swim today. When I was 6 years old someone held my head under water in the bathtub for a while, and my nose was already busted and bleeding badly so it sure helped me gain a fear of the water – so I haven’t taken the opportunity to learn how to swim. I mean in grade school our class would to go over to Westwood Secondary School to use their pool, but that was more of me and my friends spying on girls and getting out of class. Swimming in a lake is much different from being in a pool, the water feels endlessly deep and you feel like you’re a part of it. I can swim for like 50 feet with no problem, and it’s interesting how I just walked into the water slowly, and started swimming, as if I had been doing it my whole life.

Picture this: I was actually swimming with 2 young girls latched onto me, they were giggling and it was good exercise for me, even though I was already exhausted from ditch digging all day. Neighbors passed by on their boats waving to me, and I was invited by another neighbor to come over for a beer. The sun was starting to set, it was still nice and warm, the water was warm and I could smell bbq.

When we had to leave I simply didn’t want to, and neither did the 2 girls, who asked when I’d be coming back and wouldn’t let go of me. I wish I could do this more often, I wish this was my life!

Jesus Heals

I took a trip to Peterborough Ontario, I haven’t been here since like 1999 or 2000 and the last time I was here, I didn’t get to stop and enjoy as much as I wanted, but this time I did. Now when I got out of the van, of course the button on my jeans flew right off. It got sewn up right there in the parking lot while they were still on me which gave all the onlookers something to talk about before service.

We went to this church that had free delicious orange drink and donuts that you could eat before, during and after service. I have never seen this before in my life and I think it’s just the greatest thing. Also the sermon started with a Jim Carey video clip on a projector screen and I have never seen this kind of technology used in a church before, just old fashioned overhead projectors and not even free water. After there was a question and answer time. This is the most modern church I’ve ever seen.

Any way to my main story. Back in like grade 6 there was a beautiful girl name Maryanne. We called her psycho bitch because she used to beat us up, put caterpillars down our shirt and squish them. Every time we would see her, we would run away because of all her roughhousing. This was crazy because we (the boys) would roughhouse as well. I mean back then we would light things on fire and cause all kinds of mischief, but we couldn’t handle being beaten up by a beautiful girl.

I became a Christian at age 17, and I lost contact with Maryanne a few years prior, although I would hear about her once in a while because she dated some of my close friends.

When I was in college and doing an internship around age 19, I met her again at Tim Hortons. She was a cashier and just had a round of chemotherapy. She had cancer and had lost all her hair from the treatment. She was smiling at me while holding back tears. “I’ll never have children” she said. Without thinking (story of my life) I told her that Jesus would heal her, and tried to tell her as much as I could about my new found faith before I had to go (there were other customers in the line). I gave her my contact information.

I make promises to people all the time. Most of the time I come through, sometimes I don’t. When I tell people about Jesus though, I really boast. I boast big. And I had boasted big about Jesus to Maryanne in front of other people. When I got home I almost started to panic, because I realized I promised this girl that Jesus would come through for her and that one day she would have kids.

Fast forward to right now, several years later. I had just picked up a Medium pizza with Nathan and when we were walking outside of the mall in front of Price Chopper, I hear a scream “asif, asif!”. Maryanne ran up to me and before I had a chance to react, she jumped on me, arms and legs wrapped around me completely. I was surprised my spine didn’t collapse. All the weight lifting has been working out. Her hair is long and beautiful, in fact she’s more beautiful than I remember.

She went on to Nathan about how great of a man I am. (She and Nathan had never met prior). She really went on. And of course I’m not, but God is so great He came through for both me and Maryanne. I wish everyone who was in the Tim Hortons years prior could see. Both of us grew up in tough environments. Both of us came up from the wrong side of the tracks. Both of us have been healed by Jesus.

And yes, she now has a beautiful biological son. I write these journals so that I can one day read them again. But this story doesn’t require a journal entry. I’ll remember it for eternity.

15 kids and counting

When you have children in your full time care, you have to get used to:

1.) misplaced everything. Prescription glasses, keys, cellphone, batteries, everything you need will be missing. EVERYTHING. They play with everything. They see you touch something, they want to touch it. You tell them not to touch something, they want to touch it. I’m still trying to trick them into using the vacuum.

2.) everything is covered in slime. Children produce a natural disgusting slime (okay okay not really) and they cover everything in this slime. My clothes, my car, my keyboard, monitor, you name it. I go to church with spit up on my shirts and pants, boogers cover all my possessions. There are boogers on my eyeglasses right now.

3.) being tired all the time, yet having adrenaline enough to do anything you need to do.

4.) having no available cash left over because they need something (or they broke something or lost something and you have to buy a new one).

5.) privacy no longer exists. There is a child hiding under a table, in a cupboard, under a bed, in a closet. There is a teen sitting so quietly in the corner you don’t even know they are there. They hear every fart and every prayer.

6.) birthdays, Christmas, etc involves me giving out money so presents can be purchased for me.

I love it. 15 kids so far, yes fifteen. Not bad asif. Now to get a wife and start making some biological ones :)

Nadine is 6 years old, she loves to collect frogs in a jar and bring them in the house, I told her to stop doing both of those things. Did Nadine fill a jar with 100 baby frogs (she counted) and then bring them into the house and accidentally drop the jar, spilling live frogs all over the floor? Yes!

While yelling at her about this, I accidentally call her Renee, she points to a 5 year old on the sofa “Asif I’m Nadine, that’s Renee.”

I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up with an armpit filled with ketchup. What I’ve learned is, don’t try to fight it, just enjoy it while you can.

On another note, N and I was driving down Steeles Ave and we saw these 2 small children, maybe ages 5-6 trying to flag down drivers. So we stopped to see what was going on, it was actually a young father and his 2 children, the father had walked away for a second. They had come here for camping in the Etobicoke area (near that campground around Wild Water Kingdom) and had somehow ended up far away while running errands. They reminded me of those “end of the world survivor” type families. I know a few. Anyway, we drove them back to the campground since we were actually headed that way. Made sure everything was okay and then left.