This week's fascinating person is my good friend Sirak Asfaw. I've known Sirak for over a decade now, which sounds crazy to say. Our paths crossed quite a few times throughout my teenage years, but I never really got to know Sirak until my college years at Collin College, otherwise known at the time as "Quad C."
We were both in the same college ministry at the time (the same one he is still heavily involved with), so I got to spend a decent amount of time with him. It really is difficult to even remember a lot of those times because life was crazy busy, but I've always had a deep respect for Sirak. He's insanely intelligent, refreshingly genuine, and really fun to be around (something I always admire in people because I feel the opposite way about myself most of the time). He's a talented musician, a strong leader, and has one of the most magnetic personalities I've ever been around.
Sirak is one of my favorite people to sit down and have a conversation with, yet I don't think I've actually gotten to do that in over 2 years. Life has a way of turning close friends into distant friends, despite living within 30 minutes of one another. While we don't get to see each other much, he is doing his thing in this world in a huge way, and I'm thankful to know him.
With all of that said, enjoy learning more about my good friend Sirak.
Q: Summarize your life and who you are in a couple of sentences:
My life has been affected deeply by people and choices that I've made. The moments when I have chosen to let go of control have been the most revealing. Lots of cultural navigation. I think that I feel deeply and that has been my biggest strength and weakness.
Q: Where are you from, and how has it shaped you?
I was born in Windsor, Ontario. Moved to Toronto, Ontario when I was 6. Moved to Plano, TX when I was 11 and I've been here ever since. Growing up in Toronto and being raised in a single-parent home forced me to grow up quickly and learn how to pilot my life. My mom has been the only consistent thing in my life (other than Christ). Her hard work, willingness to sacrifice for her family, and patience have all shaped me tremendously.
Q: Where do you currently live?
I live in Plano, TX with 4 other dudes.
Q: What do you do for a living?
I teach sociology part-time at Richland College. I also am a campus pastor with FOCUS (Fellowship of Christian University Students).
Q: If money wasn’t an issue, what would you be doing?
If money weren't an issue I'd like to think that I'd still be doing what I'm doing...I really love what I get to do every morning for a vocation and I am thankful for that. I am aware that many people cannot say that about their specific work. That being said, if money weren't an issue I'd like to be a freelance photographer. No idea what that means but I envision someone paying me money to travel places (all expenses paid), take photos, and eat ethnic cuisine. They would then look at my photos, send me more money, and rinse/repeat.
Q: What are some things that inspire/motivate you?
I love a good song. Just, yeah. A good song really inspires me and takes me places analytically and emotionally that is often, indescribable. I also love just a solid, rich guitar tone - that inspires me too. I'm not sure what it inspires me to do...it just makes me feel good.
Q: What frustrations/struggles do you find yourself dealing with regularly?
I find myself struggling with how I perceive others perceiving me. Both of my vocations are people-oriented. I can't escape people. This is good for me. It's also a challenge at times. When what others think of you is a constant thought you tend to not think objectively about yourself or know how to. This has been something that over the last three years I have worked hard to understand: myself. I guess studying sociology has clouded my thoughts a bit in thinking of myself as unique, fearfully made, and loved dearly by those around me. It's easy to think of all the things I'm not and let that define me.
Q: Tell me about a defining moment you’ve had at some point in your life.
When my father passed away in 2007 I remember thinking, "Wow. I will never get to talk to my father again," over and over. It was a resounding thought in my mind for weeks. I think it taught me to value and appreciate life in a way I hadn't experienced before. I saw how precious life is and that you only get it for as long as you get it.
Q: What are some of your goals for the next 10 years?
I'd like to record an album, start a podcast, read "Surprised By Joy" by N.T. Wright, visit Ethiopia (for the first time), read several other books, keep exercising, and; if things work out...get married?
Q: Tell me about some of your favorite things and why? (specific art, books, music, activities, etc.)
I love music. I know lots of people love music and that's okay and great. I really do just love a good song. Just a good kick drum with some good bass, eh, it just does it for me. I also love good hip-hop with stuff that makes me stank-face. Sho-Baraka's most recent album has been on repeat for me. I love a good story as well. Like, I love a good story. I love asking people questions about random mundane things about their life to see the complexity in everyday situations. Kind of like what you're doing with this blog thing you've got going for you, James. Genius!
Q: Life motto?
Everyone is a universe of information and experience. That sounds so new-age.
Q: Anything you want to promote or advertise?
I'd like to promote your cute blog thing you've got going for you. I've known you now for over 10 years and man you've become such a dude for the Lord. I think what you're doing is great because you're giving a voice to people and showing the beauty of God's precious gift: people. Love you, James Worsham.