Last Week in the Trenches – February 2013

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Jude Turns 1!
By far the most exciting event for the Oakes family in February was celebrating Jude’s 1st birthday. We believe our children are a gift and blessing from the Lord and appreciate every day we have with them. For Jude’s special day we walked across the street to the library, played with bubbles outside and of course ate birthday cake.
Amy Oakes
God Opened an Unexpected Door
On our January trip to California, I had the opportunity to teach three seminars. One of those was at Trinity Reprographics Worldwide. Every Wednesday this printing shop hosts a Speaker’s Forum. I spoke on “Why Should We Trust the Bible?” The week following I received an email from Christine from www.emediainsiders.com who was in attendance asking if I would be interested in teaching this seminar via Webinar. This is a very exciting and unexpected opportunity. Please be in prayer that God would use this new tool to bring many into the Kingdom and better equip those that already are.
We are still waiting to hear back whether the first webinar will be held on March 6th or 7th @ 10am. This is a great opportunity for personal, group, church, family or homeschool group study. This is also a great opportunity to invite the skeptics and nonbelievers in your life to either listen at your home or from the comfort of their own. For those interested, we also have a more comprehensive study on this topic available for $6, which would include the cost of shipping. I will be sending out an email once we have all of the login details.
Some Ways God Has Used Us in Manti
The Lord has been providing many opportunities for us to build relationships with our neighbors and share the gospel. Here are a few of those stories. Please be in prayer that God would provide opportunities to continue these conversations and that these people would receive the free gift of God’s grace.
A few weeks ago, our LDS next door neighbor Cathy came over to invite us to her ward. For those that don’t know, the LDS call the building where they meet for worship services a “ward.” After we shared that we are Christians and attend a church in the city of Ephraim, she said, “You don’t think we’re Christians do you?” This opened up the door to invite Cathy to talk about what Jesus taught in the Bible. She countered by asking if we would be open to talking to the LDS missionaries over at her house. We are still waiting for this appointment, but we are looking forward to talking to them about Jesus.
Another opportunity came when I needed to get a ride home after returning our Hertz rental car. Let me back up. We recently drove to California to attend the dedication ceremony of Bethel Seminary San Diego’s new facility. While waiting out the typical Utah delay of snowy weather to return home we stayed at my mom’s house. On the night that we were supposed to drive home, a neighbor backed into our parked car. Long story short, our car is still in California and we rented a car to drive home.
The nearest drop off place to return the rental car was an hour away in the city of Spanish Fork. It was from there that I got a ride home with a very nice man named Rick. Over the course of that hour’s drive, Rick mentioned that the Mormon Miracle Pageant is held in the city where we live. I took that opportunity to ask Rick if he was LDS. He told me that he used to be an atheist, but after researching he came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith really believed that he saw God and was called to restore the true church to the earth. That started a dialogue about Joseph Smith, Jesus, the Trinity and many other topics. Upon returning home I was able to get Rick’s email address so we will be able to continue the conversation.
We are building a relationship with an LDS family in our neighborhood. Last night Marvin stopped by to make plans to get together for dinner on Monday. We also had a really great conversation about some fundamental differences between Christianity and Mormonism. We were also able to get a much better understanding of what Marvin believes personally and why he is a part of the LDS church.
Please pray for our neighbor on the other side. Don is an atheist and a geologist. We are planning to invite him to hear Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis speak on March 11th in Northern Utah on “Fossils & the Flood.” We are praying that Don would accept the invitation and this would lead into further spiritual conversations.

A Plan to Infiltrate the Community
Please continue to be in prayer as we have been seeking other possible means of income for our family. I have recently completed the application to be a substitute teacher in the elementary, middle schools and high schools throughout Sanpete County. When we have our car back, I plan to seek out opportunities to tutor and teach guitar lessons as well. As we have been praying and seeking God’s leading, we have realized that seeking full-time employment would make it very difficult to continue pursuing the doors that God seems to be opening to teach seminars. All of the jobs I have mentioned above would allow for flexibility while still producing some extra income for our family as we are still short on financial support.

Thoughts from Amy
I wanted to share a little bit about how God has been working in me and changing me through this new journey. Before becoming a full-time missionary, I must confess when dialoging with the LDS, my mind was more focused on why I was right and they were wrong. After moving to Utah and experiencing the genuine kindness from our LDS neighbors, the Lord has really changed my perspective. The first thing that has really struck me is that I know for a fact these dear people believe in a false gospel and are perishing. Yet they are so eager to show love, kindness, hospitality, share their faith and invite you to church more than any Christian I’ve ever come across. It’s been greatly convicting to me to realize that I have the truth, I have Jesus, yet I have not been nearly as excited and bold to share the truth. One of the things I love about living in Utah is that you are forced to know what you believe and why and express it because others are always asking about your beliefs. We are commanded as disciples of Christ to share the hope that we have of salvation. Not even that we are commanded, but shouldn’t we want to out of love for God after all He has done for us? As a result, I feel very compelled to have a much stronger foundation, knowing what I believe and why, knowing where to find these truths in Scripture, being able to articulate them with intelligence and empathy, and my prayer is for Jesus’ disciples to have the unity that Jesus prayed for us to have. It is very convicting to me that other religious groups who are trusting in false doctrine are often times emulating Jesus more than us who have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. The work has already been done by Jesus on the cross and we have already been given the same power that rose Jesus from the dead to share this truth with boldness, unity and love to the world.
There Are So Many Ways You Can Support Our Ministry
  • Pray, pray, pray!!!
  • Monthly financial support or a one-time donation (you can do this through our website at www.peopleofthefreegift.com. All donations are tax-deductible)
  • Invite us to teach your group (A list of topics is available on our website)
    • Friends and Family
    • Congregations and Small Groups
    • Junior High and High School Youth Groups
    • Homeschool groups of all age ranges
  • Hold a fundraiser on behalf of our ministry
  • Forward this newsletter to as many people as possible
Prayer Requests
Please remember us in your prayers:
  • God would provide for our family’s needs through a job for Jason and funds raised for People of the Free Gift
  • Wisdom and discernment in listening to God’s leading for the next steps in this ministry
  • God would open the hearts of those we have opportunity to share the gospel with
  • Spiritual protection for our family
About our family: Jason and Amy have been married for 9 years. We have three boys named Noah, Elijah and Jude. About 14 years ago, God used Jason to help his best friend come out of the LDS church and into a relationship with Jesus. Through that process, God gave Jason a heart to reach the LDS people. In 2012, we started a ministry called “People of the Free Gift.” Our desire is to do 4 things: Teach Seminars, Fill the Pulpit, Lead Mission Teams and Assist Church Planters/Pastors. We recently moved to Utah and are currently raising funds to be fully supported in this ministry.
  Jason Oakes