More than 100 children and 20 call me dad

Okay, so here’s a fun twist to my life. My friends approached me asking if I wanted to go garbage picking, and I laughed and laughed. They were serious though, so I went with them to see what was going on, you know if I should check them into the local loony bin or what.

We drove to Oakville, this super gorgeous city with beautiful women jogging on the sidewalk (in Malton, you don’t see this, you usually see people running for their life). Anyway in Oakville, once a year they do this cool thing where people can put their used items on the curb, for other people to come and take. Not garbage, but actually useful items like furniture, electronics and nic nacs. The reason this is great for us is that we know people who need things for their home, and we can’t afford to pay for all of that stuff out of our own pockets but we can spend time looking through items on hundreds of curbs and pick out the items.

We found some great treasures including working computers, tvs, and of course furniture.

We found a beautiful solid wood office desk, that was way too heavy but so nice we didn’t want to leave it. We knew who we would be giving it to and were excited to get it there. Nathan and I had to take this thing in the elevator up 3 floors and then down a long hallway, and then up a narrow flight of stairs and we were wondering how we would do that last part, this desk might have been several hundred pounds with no real place to hold it while taking it up the stairs. When we got to the location a young black teen was standing around outside in the dark and to my amazement asked if we needed help.

This surprised me, at first I figured he was one of my former kids who was now a teen but I couldn’t recognize him at all. I didn’t want to say anything though because if he was one of my kids and I couldn’t remember, then he would be hurt and I would feel terrible. It’s fair to say that I’ve worked closely with over 100 children and teens at this point, and I can’t remember them all. Sometimes I’ll be walking in the mall and they’ll walk up and hug me, most are way taller than me now. Even some of the girls. There’s a young man who comes over for dinner 2-3 nights a week, he’s a tall, muscular super dark skinned black youth. He doesn’t knock, he just finds his way in somehow. I’ll be watching tv, and turn around and there he is. I know he’s from one of the churches, and he’s a good kid. Always listens to me, never causes me any problems.

It took a long time for the 3 of us to get that desk up the stairs, it was really brutal. I was so impressed with this young man that I offered to buy him a whole pizza, and he wasn’t even surprised at all, as if he hung out with me before. We drove him over to 241 and got him a media pizza and some soda, then drove him home. I still have no idea if he’s one of my kids I worked with in the past but anyway, God bless him for being such a help.

Now in Guyana, and other parts of the world, this is how we got most of our possessions: picking through the dump. I remember my first tricycle, right out of the dumpster, and my uncle made 2 solid wooden rear wheels for it that weren’t held on by bolts, so they would wobble as I rode, I loved that bike so much and you know what, it’s still being used today. I have a photo of me riding it in my underwear and it’s one of my favorite memories.

Can I ramble on?

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8 (Jesus speaking)

The above scripture is one of my favorites, right out of the mouth of Jesus, in front of witnesses. I used to doodle this everywhere. This scripture has caused me to have many problems and wild adventures.

Today I am thinking about a girl named Sarah who was born 4 years ago. She was born premature and when she was 2 weeks old she was sooo tiny. I don’t remember if I mentioned this before before but her grandma brought her to church (she simply couldn’t wait to show everyone her beautiful new granddaughter). On that day she asked me to hold her in the sanctuary and I was soo afraid. I had plenty of experience with babies but never held a baby so small. I held her in both palms of my hands as if I had just scooped up some water. I was so nervous, but happy. Sarah fit perfectly in my hands.

Nowadays shes 4 years old, and when I talk to her she smiles and buries her face in her cute little hands. Once in a while when she’s not feeling shy she’ll jump on me and smother me in kisses. :o)

Remembering what it felt like to hold a miracle in my hands, makes me want to press on, to see new miracles. I am desperate for them. Desperate.

The first half of 2001 has been tumultuous. (First time I’ve ever
used the word tumultuous). January-Feb started with gigantic momentum,
I mean every day was a non stop amazing rollercoaster ride.

I work during the day, do a full course load, and then try to pack in a few hours of hard ministry work. At the end of the day I would just curl up on my sofa (which I purchased in Jan from Ikea after 6 months of saving) and watch tv.

Before Jan, I really lived in my bedroom. Infact, since I became a teen I started doing everything in my bedroom. I would eat there, and hang out there. I had
a small tv and radio so it was cool. I finally moved my stuff out to the rest of the apartment and got furniture this year. It was a fun transition. Still growing up.

I got a candle a few days ago, and while it was burning I thought how nice it would be to have some incense. So I took some montreal steak seasoning and poured
it into the ditch at the top of the fat candle. Ummm, I figured it would fill the house with the gentle smell of steak.

Instead the spices caught on fire and really messed up the candle. The candle looks like it went through serious torture (dont worry, this candle contains no animal products). So much for my bright ideas.

As I was saying, Jan and Feb were months in which I took on a lot of things, too much in fact. Anyway, March came around and things began to slow down to the point where I could breath again. Not for long though. I was satisfied with Jan and Feb. It was, a legacy. People from all over still call asking about it. I’d rather close that chapter, and begin writing a new one.

I am left drained. March was the beginning of trouble that I could not handle.
I knew it. God warned me so many times earlier. I still cant handle it.
Its not that I took the warnings as a joke, and I’ve learned never to consider
a joke, what so many warn about. Especially what God warns about.
I guess maybe it was just something that I thought could never happen.

I’ve always wondered about people who said they prayed for ‘hours at a time’.
Now I’m one of them, and its not so hard to believe. May started off very well and went well until the middle of the month and crashed. In June my spiritual growth
took a huge upswing.

Sometimes I think about moving somewhere quiet. Like Prince Edward Island. Maybe I’ve watched too much Road to Avonlea?

A few nights ago, I was logging into scribble and saw someones scribble entitled “looking for a sign” so I checked it out, and messaged the guy on AOL. Anyway it turns out hes a christian and he loves this girl at his church but is kinda having trouble with his relationship with her. He got his sign. I was his sign. Brian, keep me updated ok?

I was praying about if I should move or not, and that same minute my landlord slipped a letter under my door. It said that his inlaws, who recently moved upstairs are cramping his style, and with his 3rd baby on the way he needs the basement apartment for the inlaws, and that if possible, he would like me to move by the end of July. I’ll miss all the fun I’ve had here. The time my glasses fell in the toilet, the time I had 3 mice here and I had to tuck my pants into my socks till I got them, and of course, all the other fun stuff. I really grew here, but now I need new soil for a while.

I’m not poetic..and I don’t make the best first impressions, but you’ll find that I am completely genuine. I hate when nobody is at my disposal when I’m usually at every ones disposal. I am disappointed in the lack of availability of everyone who I used to help. To many people I associate with on a regular basis know me as some sort of super-guy. I go out of my way for my friends and when I need help with something, I can’t get a return call.

It’s not all bad though. I remember when Stephenie beat the crap out of me (figuratively) in 1999 because I told her I won’t go to college. She wouldn’t let it drop, she forced me to go. You know that feeling when you have a lump in your throat that feels it can weigh down your whole body? That’s the kind of lecture she gave me. I signed up the same day. I haven’t even graduated high school yet and the college has no clue. I’ll have to get my GED soon.

Although I’m too old, I often think about going back to high school. How long would it take for me to lead everyone to Jesus? How many lives could be saved in one school year? I wish Christian teens would think this way, but I don’t think they can, they already have too much on their plate.

A few months ago I went to the museum with a local school (they asked me to come help supervise) and Amber says to me ‘Asif, everyone want to be in your group’. I told her, “why didn’t this happen to me when I was in high school?”

Good memories

I was remembering some of the fun times I had over the past few months…not just 2001 but also in the last part of 2000.

I remember the time I was walking to my moms house and a van started speeding towards me with its tires screeching…making me go ahhhhhhh. Only to find out it was 5 of my very good friends who have fostered over 130 (yeah, one hundred and thirty) children and currently have 9. They were playing a joke on me. And when you’ve raised that many children’ you do need an outlet, I’m glad they had good brakes :)

We had a good laugh about my ‘near death’ experience and they gave me a ride to my moms house in their mini van. I was also thinking about this large prayer assembly I went to a good while back, in which churches of all denominations were invited to pray for each other and different important issues. I sat beside 2 young girls from our church (sisters). (i forget their names only because there are so many children I can’t remember all of their names no matter how hard I try.

We had a full 2.x hrs to pray and I asked one of the girls if she wanted to come with me to walk around the ultra massive Toronto church building and pray for people with me.
She was nervous and asked me to teach her how to pray. This is something you NEED to teach your children to do. It seems like these days the kids now how to bully, beat up, steal, lie, and so other bad things but they lack good skills like reading, math and praying.

She took my hand and we went around the church praying for dozens of peoples needs.

Oh she was so happy and she didnt want to let me go, I think she held my hand most of the night. I’m soft hearted for stuff like that.

I was so happy to know I had helped to plant the seed of prayer in her life. I never did see her again though, her family moved far away :(

I’m wondering how shes doing.

I wonder about all of the children of my life. Most seem to remember me even when I don’t remember them, and some do not remember me even though I remember them so well. But
I love them all so, so much. Sometimes I’ll be at Westwood Mall or Woodbine Centre or Square One and the parents will say “Hey Asif, do you remember my son / daughter so and so?” It’s amazing to see them growing and doing well. It’s a bit embarrassing when I don’t recognize the child or the parent :)

Prayer Rally

Friday we had a cool time at a large Toronto church. The drive was a bit long but about 1,000 of us gathered from different churches and denominations to pray for causes such as pastors, children, youth, marriages, family, unsaved love ones, healing, political leaders, revival and more. It was excellent and I think we should do it more often. Even though these kinds of events are usually one time, I had 2 young proteges (aged 6 and 8 approx) who I was teaching to pray. The only downside was that it was only for 2.5 hours. A bit short for such a fun event. The time flew by because it was so much fun and it’s nice to spend time with people who we only see when we are doing community events together like handing out food and supplies to Toronto’s homeless or working in soup kitchens or food banks together, and the power of God was working in our hearts as usual. Time for sleep!

Help Wanted

This month I’m scheduled to volunteer 100 hours, which will be the most in one month that I’ve ever done. I get to work with some amazing people, who are all way older than me (except when I’m working with children). My supervisors say that I’m learning faster than anyone when it comes to pastoral ministry, church, etc., and that is very exciting.

Work is going pretty well, and the people I work with are generally happy, which is always a good thing. The one thing I don’t like is driving to Scarborough or Markham so much, especially since my car falls apart often. The window doesn’t even go down unless you grip it and push it down. My family complains that I give too much money away to others and don’t take care of myself enough, which is kind of true, but these amazing opportunities keep coming at me.

My car is giving me some major trouble, it won’t start in the rain or even on a misty day, and my friends at church were laughing when some parts fell off my car when I was driving away. To be fair, the car is 18, lol it’s almost as old as I am.

Too Many Children!

2:42am? Yikes, I’m not supposed to be up this late, but it seems like there is never enough time in the day, and always more to do. Even when I rush, prioritize my schedule, and work hard all day long, it sometimes seems as if I haven’t accomplished anything. Well, today was one of those days so I’m still up, but after I write this, I’ll be satisfied with my day.

Because of some special events happening in Mississauga, I’ve been taking care of children’s church not just Sunday morning and evening, but also Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evening this week. The crowd gets bigger and bigger, and I’m in desperate need of more helpers. One of the small children (3 years old) is way to young to be in my class. She should be in the nursery, but the nursery is overcrowded, and she wants to be in my class anyway. The hardest part is when the smaller children want me to pick them up but I can’t because then all of them will want me to pick them up. This is okay when I’m taking care of 5, but when it’s 30, 48, 100+, it doesn’t matter how many helpers I have, I just can’t do it.

Anyway, back to the 3 year old. She is full of energy, and always on the move. We were all sitting quietly drawing pictures and playing with legos, and she was running around and making noise. I told her repeatedly “sweetie, come and sit down.” She didn’t listen, but instead she ran into a storage room, knocking down its contents in the process. She ran under a table, knocking down the items piled on top. I cleaned up the messes, and reached under the table, exhausted, “I am your friend, come out of there.” Well, she got so excited and happy that she tried to leap into the air with joy, forgetting that she was under the table. She hit her head, but being so young, she was resilient, and it didn’t even make her whimper. It did shut her up for a few minutes though, lol. She came out from hiding with a smile on her face (rubbing her head a bit), and she gave me a tight hug (don’t worry, her parents knew about the bump on her head). A few minutes later she was causing more trouble for me again.

Thank God for kids. When I think of the way that child acted, I think of us adults. We disobey God, then we go into a sort of hiding where we stray further away from God. In the midst of this, we get hurt. God saves us, then we start the whole thing all over again. Sometimes we have to be stopped in our tracks to find out how much God loves us, but we might have caused so much damage in our lives that God has to spend much time mending our hearts and helping us to clean up the mess. Jesus said that life brings enough trouble on its own, there is no need to make more for ourselves.