Yesterday was an 18 hour work day. Very tiring. I woke up and did a tremendous amount of work. I took a 45 minute nap, woke up to do more work and I almost thought I should cancel on the homeless outreach because I wasn’t feeling so good. But at the last minute I decided to just go because it is my commitment to God. I got there at 830pm and I have to stress the fact that I was super tired. It was a good night of reaching out to the downtown Toronto homeless community and sharing my faith with people, some of which are giving their life to Jesus.

On the way home I stopped off at Walmart to get a new electric kettle and old spice deodorant. Right in front of me in the line was Carla, my old pal from high school. I haven’t seen her in more than 10 years. She looks like she did in the 90’s. She is the one responsible for bringing me to church for the first time. She invited me over 50 times over the course of a year. I said no 51 times over the phone. On the 52 time she didn’t bother calling me, she came over to my house and she banged on my door demanding that I go to church with her. I did. And I gave my life to Christ that same night.

Michael (not the archangel, the other one)

In 1988 I was in Brandon Gate public school. Mr. Wood’s class. There was a black boy one grade ahead of me, in the same classroom (We used to share “pod’s” with another grade for some reason) his name was Michael. He was a rough and awful person at the time. He would get into fights and arguments and trouble all the time. One time he was fighting and he kicked a female teacher very hard in the neck. He was a huge dark skinned boy, bigger than the biggest bullies at our school. At least that’s how I remember it. Mrs. Leahy is the name of the teacher that got kicked. I thought he was such a loser and I always remembered him that way. Until now.

Fast forward to 2005, when I would regularly pray for people I went to school with, even though I don’t remember them all by name, I remember certain events or little things here and there. I was flipping through the channels and I saw Michael, of all people, on tv, giving his testimony about how Jesus changed his life. I was floored. I mean honestly I had to sit down. I was literally praying for the guy, and now here I was watching him on tv.

Just a few months later in 2005 I met him in Longo’s while doing grocery shopping. I re-introduced myself, of course he didn’t remember me from such a long time ago. I praised God for being so amazing. He takes the people who we think will never be different and he changes them. I shook Michael’s hand and went about my day. Who would think that I would ever shake his hand? He was an animal the last I remembered him. He beat up my friend Gidget’s brother Charlie. I met Gidget in 1986 while jogging. She was a champion jogger at the time.

Fast forward to last night, August of 2007, I was flipping through the channels here, the reception is very poor but sometimes but I can wiggle back of the tv and sometimes I get lucky.

On CBC the host was interviewing an ‘educator’ who was proclaiming that there is no God. I change channels and there is Michael, yes Michael on a major game show. He won over $150,000 and was giving half to his new ministry, which will help troubled youth stay off the streets via sports programs.

Jesus is amazing! Oh yeah, I forgot – I met Gidget in Woodbine center in 1997. She gave her life to Jesus to. And I’ve started going through my old yearbooks which are safe in storage, turns out a number of my old friends who were Atheists, Muslims, Hindus, etc are turning their lives over to Jesus and their lives are being transformed.

My mom saves lives

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

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

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

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

Apple Juice & Other Stuff

I was given a laptop to do a fresh install of win98 (yeah, you wear glasses and everyone thinks you can fix their computer). Well, the person who owned laptop wanted to use a mouse with it, so I went to his house to help install one. That took about 2 minutes, but as I was prepping to leave, I was asked to do some work on his desktop computer. Blah. I hate that. This wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last unless I make some changes. It’s been a long week, and now I have to install a modem as well. With work, school, and church ministry, I’m doing at least 15 hours a day 7 days a week. This isn’t how it was supposed to be.

While driving to the bank on Friday night, as soon as I turned on Airport Road off Morning Star, BAM! An accident. I always stick around to see if I can be of any help, but they didn’t need me this time.

Anyway, I stopped for gas, and after, my car wouldn’t start. Some guys helpd me jump start it, and I was off again. I made a few wrong turns here and there and ended up on this old street with really nice houses. I saw this amazing stone house. Every time I see a certain kind of house, a house that’s completely abnormal, it reminds me of old TV shows I used to watch from the 80s and when life was somewhat simpler because I was too young to know any better.

I like apple juice. But I don’t like cold apple juice, I think it’s nasty. I heat it up in the microwave because it’s so delicious that way. When I was around 6, I attended a really nice school called Yorkview Public in Willowdale Ontario (near Bathurst and Finch). I could barely afford to go on any field trips (a common theme in my life), but there was one to an apple orchard that I was able to go to, and on the permission form, parents were asked to give a bit of spending money because the orchard had all kinds of neat products. Well, my parents gave me $1, which they thought was a whole lot of money, and to my family, it really was!

I was the only kid who couldn’t buy anything at all, and my teacher blamed me, like I was 6 and in charge of my finances. I hate when teachers ask stupid questions like, “why didn’t you bring more money?” Umm, well, because I’m 6. “Why didn’t you tell your parents to give you more?” (I don’t know how it works with white people, but with us brown people, if you ‘tell’ your parents to give you more money, you get your skull cracked open plus grounded for a month). Anyway, I really wanted to buy a small jug of apple cider, which all my friends were buying.

Shortly after this incident I started my own business at Yorkview. I would go to a convenience store and purchase gum and other popular candy, and sell it at school, usually at recesses, lunch, and after school. This worked out so well for me, and I was always able to go on field trips and buy stuff. That carried on for a good while, until my mom found more than $40 in my piggy bank (yeah I wasn’t just spending, I was saving, too!), and wondered how a 6 year old got that kind of money. Well, gee mom, I didn’t rob a bank, I’m 6, so I’m not dealing dope, and printers haven’t really been invented yet, so I’m not printing money. I told her I had been buying and re-selling candies for a profit. In return, I got a good hard beating, and for some reason I still don’t understand, my money confiscated. After this, I was back to square one, missing most field trips because we couldn’t afford it and I wasn’t allowed to have control over my own finances. I made excuses to my teachers about why I couldn’t go – standard stuff us poor people say. “I’m sick,” “I forgot to get my permission slip signed,” “I lost the money,” etc.

Fast forward to today, I’m a Christian, many of my family members are converting one by one. Mom comes to visit often and brings me a jug of apple juice, apple cider, and fresh apples to make up for everything.

All of a sudden I don’t care about missed field trips or the insults of well meaning teachers.

– Asif Zamir