Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gratitude: February 2011

February was a short month, but it was full of blessings. It was an early "sport madness" with basketball (e.g. watch T-Dub Slam UMM) and weekly soccer games integrating different groups of the community, etc...).

Also, God has been using Facebook as a ministry tool!! I got a friend that "accepted" me that I have been praying for years to respond to my add. He didn't reply to an email I sent to him after wards, but it's "small baby-steps" in building our friendship back!

I'm still continuing my "new year's resolution of keeping healthy and fit, which I recently joined another class at the local fitness center called Zumba (see body, soul, & mind)! I've been going to this every Thursday evenings, which attracts from 50-80 people. I've started to do more dancing (e.g. work) including the annual Valentine Dance at Clinton, Minnesota with 1/3 of the clients from my workplace. Just to note, this was a week of unusual "spring-like" temperatures (30-40's) as lot of snow melted. Unfortunately, we ended-up getting the snow or even more back (21st-Snow Day) with a 14-15 inch snow storm!

Despite all the snow, I've learned to deal with it by sledding-snowboarding. I had to opportunity to do so with my sister, James (her boyfriend), and niece-nephew at Battle Creek Hill in St. Paul. Also, I went with several of my former students during UMM International Student Orientation last Summer to go sledding-snowboarding-It was the 1st time for all three! (see Cougar-Tiger Hill.

I started my once a week "fast" mid-February as I shared this email (with some wording changes for confidentiality) to folks in my local church:

From: Sal Monteagudo []
Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2011 2:14 PM
To: Goodnews Everybody
Subject: Sal-power of your stories...

Hi friends-family,

I just wanted to share some awesome stories from the past week or two and I pray this will encourage you all. I've been working at my current job (Stevens County DAC) since December of 2005. I feel "opportunities" happen for a reason and I've been praying for ways to share (more of my lifestyle-"actions speak louder than words") God's love to my co-workers and the clients (mentally-physically challenged adults). He has "opened doors" for me to pray for many (e.g. healing) over the past 5+ years (relationship evangelism) and share my faith. However, I never experience so many "open doors" until the last week or two. A couple of my co-workers went from "short-chat" to "deep-conversations" that enabled me to share my "testimony" with a couple of co-workers this past week alone! Wow, God is awesome! I love to share how God has "worked" in my-life and feel we all do have something to share (e.g. a lady in my local church encouraged all of us on this with sharing our own stories) with others around us because many are looking for "hope" and "encouragement" in these days. I just want to encourage you to seek God daily on how you can be "His light". I look back and I feel my decision to "fast" (e.g. vegetables and fruits-haven't done this for awhile) earlier this week (inspired by my local church message to "seek Him") was very helpful in these "open doors". I've decided to "try" to do this in a weekly basis, which I used to do in my "early" years walking with the Lord.

Lastly, the week ended with me sharing part of my "testimony" with an international student of mine (taught during a week of orientation to 60 international students at the local university) during my 3-hour drive to here ( St. Paul ) to do my "monthly" family visit. Please pray for this student I'll call "Fay" who is currently going through some "academic challenges" (opened-up on this to me, which I feel was started through many relationship-building activities. People start opening-up to you through time and trust) that may cause her to be "expelled'. She's been to Bible studies (went to one last night at the UofM Twin Cities campus), which I feel God has been using others to "plant seeds of faith" since she's been here in the US . Isn't that awesome? We don't have to go abroad , God is sending them and others from around the world to our "backyard" or "front door steps"!! However, some of us are called and I'm praying to back to the Philippines someday!!

Feel free to email me any comments, suggestions, questions, prayer requests, etc.. relating to this.

Brother in Christ,

p.s. If I haven't really share my "testimony", you are welcome to read and share this with others. In fact, feel free to write your "testimony" and share it with me. Let me know if you would love to have me "publicize" this to encourage others (e.g. I just emailed this site and others to a couple of those that I shared with this week) because we all have different stories that can encourage different people with different situations.

My local pastor encouraged me to share stories like this at church, so I shared another story of my mom's recent eye doctor visit. The doctor told her that there was no diabetes in her eyes. She credited it to me praying with here the weekend before I left back to Morris. Also, I've been telling her how I've been fasting on fruit and vegetables once a week, so she tried it and her blood pressure was the lowest it has been.

God has also financially provided in various ways this month with my current "financial situation". I was able to be given hours from my "on-call" part-time job in various days of the month. One of the days seem to be "strategic" as one of my clients at the group home had a "death" in the family, which I was there to give him and his peers "spiritual counsel". I also did some "house cleaning" (sorting my recycle mail) and found a 2 month-old rebate check (Tire Plus). Then I found a coupon for $5, which doesn't seem much. However, it was very timely as I used to help pay for the increasing gas prices ($3.27-Cenex in Morris) for my trip to visit a friend in Moose Lake.

Protector-He was a protector during the last weekend of the month as I was almost involved in a head-on-collision (see Outdoors: Winter)going to Moose Lake from Mora. The drive back home didn't end "smoothly" as He opened doors for me to help bystanders on the side of the highway (see Are You Available? February 27, 2011 from

"My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you...24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
all day long,...
-Psalm 71

The month ended with a great gathering of three different local churches for worship (see Community of Morris) and a guest speaker for a 2-day conference on Creation, which opened-up a great "blog" (30 comments) on Facebook!