I have had an unsettled feeling about this for a very long time. I grew up in Honduras and I saw and know why immigration seems like the only option to many. I also have enjoyed a life in the USA, where law and order are key to a high-quality life experience.
In the end, the only place to find an answer to such a difficult question is through prayer and study of God’s word. I also took this study to my closest mentors who among them have over 100 years of ministry experience and they have helped me to edit and deepen my study.
When we look at migration in both the old and new testaments, we see something that was a common practice. On the economic side, individuals would move to neighboring cities when there was a draught or famine to find a way to meet their basic needs. On the political side, families were forced to move out of places of persecution to avoid death. In both cases, these individual’s lives were at risk.
We see Abrahams first step in his ministry was to leave his hometown. A decision that to this day we use to teach faith and obedience. We see Joseph who was sold into slavery by his people and made into a leader and commander in a foreign nation. We see Ruth and Nahomi travel to Moab, a people very different to the culture of Israel, and from this migration we have the lineage of Jesus Christ himself. Migration is part of our heritage and part of our story.
Risk. Risk is something we have to spend some time on. What is risk to you? Risk of losing your house, risk of not being able to go on vacation with your family, risk of getting a job that pays less then you consider fair, risk of not being able to buy a car? Or risk of being robbed, risk of being indoctrinated into a gang, risk of the consequences of a poor education, risk of not having your next meal, or the risk of being killed? When we evaluate immigration and the decision to ignore the legalities of it, we have to be willing to evaluate risk.
Legal – Illegal. We also have to take some time to understand this as well. United States and many other highly developed nations draw a clear line between legal and illegal. This makes living in these countries a pleasure. Life is organized and most everyone has agreed to follow social norms and laws for the benefit of society as a whole. Sadly, in other countries where corruption is law people do not have this luxury. Many times good people are forced into illegal situations out of necessity. As a leader in ministry, how can I condone illegal behavior? But on the other hand how can I not feel mercy and love for a person in need?
· If you feel you are called to migrate,
1. Pray – Let God be the one to guide your decisions. Let faith be the power that moves you. No matter what is going on around us if we follow God in small steps of obedience, we will end up right where we are supposed to be.
2. Risk – Measure the risk. Avoid risking your life to save it. It is unreasonable to think that to improve my life I am going to lose it. Pick up a piece of paper, sit down with a friend, find someone you trust and measure the risk!
3. Illegal or Legal – It is unlawful to immigrate illegally and there will be consequences. These are consequences that you have to recognize measuring the weight of your decisions. Is it worth jail time, is it worth affecting future opportunities to travel, is it worth affecting your family’s opportunity to travel.
· If you feel uncomfortable about the immigration into your country please know,
People don’t leave their homes on a whim. They leave because injustice, danger, and corruption drive them out of the safety of their families into the wilderness. The trip is a long and treacherous one. Upon arrival to their destination people are confronted with a lack of empathy and a absence of awareness. They are condemned and misjudged. Many times leaving on this journey means NEVER seeing a mother, wife, or child again. No one wants to leave. No one wants to be labeled illegal. Take a moment to imagine what could drive you to make that type of decision. Just take a second.
Pray. Take time to think. Be patient. Have faith. Do the right things for the right reasons. We are here to support you on your path with God.