My Family has been contemplating migrating for various reasons but we cannot come to an agreement about when and where to go, whether my wife should go with the children (I still have my business here), how to release our church responsibilities (I’m a cell leader), and other family responsibilities (I’m partly supporting my parents). It seems such a big decision, so where do we start?
Let me share how we faced the same situation in the 1970s and from there, draw some principles to help answer your questions. At that time, Malaysian registered doctors could get registration in Australia without taking any exam, so Tek registered and applied for permanent residence.
The approval took longer than expected. Meanwhile, he was offered work and training in psychiatry in Hongkong, something he had longed to do. It seemed the door was open to Hong Kong but we needed to fulfil four conditions before we could leave Malaysia:
1) someone would take over his clinic; 2) a new editor to take our place in Asian Beacon; 3) someone to take over the Christian bookroom we ran; and 4) people to take over his responsibilities in the church leadership.
All four conditions were met, so we were at peace to leave.
We lived for eight years in Hong Kong by which time Tek had started his own private practice. I was involved in a business and the children were keen to further their education in the US. It was getting troublesome to meet the requirement of making entries into Australia every four years and we had to decide on whether to give up the visa or take up residence in Australia.
My parents advised, “You have put down your roots here for eight years, are you going to start from scratch?” The family generally felt we should not go to Australia. It was a big decision, and discussing the pros and cons did not seem to help much. So we agreed as a family to ask God to give us the answer.
In our individual prayer time, God spoke through Gen. 12:1 – Then the Lord told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.” We were convinced God’s instruction was not to go back to Malaysia (Tek’s country) or stay in Hongkong (my father’s home ground) but to go to a new land: Australia. So against natural feelings, logic and advice, we were convinced God had spoken clearly to all of us and we would obey. As we look back on the 30 years since, we see God’s leading was the best, and we’re all happy with the outcome.
SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The question of migration is sometimes sensitively attached to the question of loyalty to a country. No doubt God calls some to stay to ‘fight for justice’ for their people. But He may also call some to move like Abraham. So ultimately, we must seek God’s will for ourselves because He has a good plan for each of us.
We can pray for God to open and close doors for guidance.
Husband and wife and children who are of age should be able to confirm they have heard God correctly. We agreed not to send the children to study in Australia while we stayed in Hongkong to continue our careers. We believed the family should stay together. When there is unity, God’s blessing comes.
We must not irresponsibly drop everything and leave but be conscientious to discharge our responsibilities and see that they are taken over properly.
In summary, this is our guideline:
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