Risk and the Voice of God: Desmond and Elaine Ng
Choosing to follow God’s voice and step out of our comfort zone is a key to growth
Desmond and Elaine went through several challenges early in their marriage and almost got divorced, before meeting God and receiving supernatural healing.
When you moved half-way around the world to Bethel in California, you had to pack up everything, with three young children, including a newborn baby in the mix. What would you say is your usual process of confirming a decision, especially when it includes such a major risk?
How do you decide if something is “God-breathed”?
Desmond: When it comes to major decisions, I think there should be no pressure to decide quickly. For us, it’s always been a process of confirming and re-confirming that we’re hearing God’s voice in the process.
We believe God speaks to us through other people as well. If we receive enough prophetic words, we hold very strongly to them. We don’t use that as the whole basis of how we make a decision, but they do play a part
For example, in the case of our going to Bethel, Shawn Bolz highlighted us at a random gathering, and prophesied God’s plans for us. And he was speaking about something that was already in our hearts. I hadn’t been sure about it, but God used him to confirm it.
I feel like God sends prophets and the prophetic word to speak about things that He has already placed in our hearts. We’ve had a few other prophetic words that say the exact same thing about the adventure God has for our family.
When we have multiple prophetic words that all say exactly the same thing, we realize that God must be in this.
Elaine: Another thing we do is that we speak with our spiritual parents and get their insights. They don’t make decisions for us, but they do share their thoughts and concerns.
Desmond: I believe God will also speak directly to us, not only through other people. When God speaks to you personally, He changes your heart. This makes making major decisions easy, because you have that peace from God. You know that God is with you. The peace of God is very important if you’re making major decisions.
In spite of all the prophecies that we received, packing everything up and going to Bethel was still something that we were not so sure about.
“When God speaks to you personally, He changes your heart.” -Desmond Ng
In fact, I didn’t even want to tell Elaine what I was thinking. I knew if I told her, with her being the risk-taker, she would be like, “Let’s go!” So I kept everything in my heart, and told God, “Go ahead and speak to me and change my heart.”
So along the way, God asked me three questions that were important in our decision-making process, and I think not just for us but they can help anybody.
What were the 3 questions?
Desmond: The first question He asked me was, “If money was not an issue, what will you choose to do?”
This question was important, because for the longest time I was thinking, “If we go away, we’ll have no income. What are we going to do? We have worked so hard to have a comfortable life.”
For me, finance was always a security blanket.
The second question that He asked me was this, “If you only have a few months left to live, what’s something that you would regret never doing?”
I didn’t want to be breathing my last breath, and always be wondering what would have happened if I had seized this opportunity to go.
The third question I heard from the Lord was, “Why now? And why not when you’re retired?” And He gave the answer, which is that if we went now and built this foundation today, then every year that passes, we’re building more and more on that foundation. It will give us a strong base that will be the platform for everything else we do for the rest of our lives.
You’ve taken many risks in your marriage, from speaking about controversial topics to moving from Singapore with young children to attend Bible school in California. Would you say risk-taking comes naturally to you, or are you actually cautious?
Elaine: I’ve always been someone who likes to try new things. From the first day we heard about Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), my idea was “Let’s pick up and go.”
Even in investment styles, once I hear of something, I’m willing to invest some money, even if I lose. We used to fight over this quite a lot, because we’re so different. Desmond is more cautious.
Desmond: I would say a little bit of both for me. I’m cautious, because that’s the way our Singaporean system trained me. But yet at the heart level, I do enjoy adventure. I enjoy traveling. I enjoy seeing new things. I enjoy new experiences.
The whole society and system we grew up in conditions us, “You have to play safe, don’t take risks.” The message we get is, “Don’t fail. Failure is bad, so taking risks is a bad thing.” But I think risk-taking is something that I’m really learning to do.
Now, I know you both frequently speak publicly about extremely personal topics, like physical intimacy. What drives you to speak so openly and plainly about subjects that most churches find uncomfortable addressing from the pulpit?
Desmond: We feel that churches should be talking about these issues more and more. The very fact that this hasn’t been done is what motivates us to raise awareness about these topics. It’s not that we need to be talking about it all the time, but rather the whole body of Christ needs to be addressing this issue.
For us, we came from a place where we were both very broken by sexual issues. I struggled with an addiction to pornography, and Elaine had an experience of abortion.
For a long time, the church has been silent about these things. The enemy has had so much of a voice and influence, telling us, “You’re doing the wrong thing.” A lot of Christians grow up with this sense of shame and no idea how to get the victory.
This causes them to keep to themselves and not to talk about sex and sexual brokenness, creating a whole negative cycle that perpetuates itself. The more people in the Church don’t talk about it, the more the enemy gets to speak into it.
We want people to know that sex is actually something that is holy. It’s something that is pure. It’s something that God has designed and God has created.
The area of sexual intimacy is just part of our ministry on the marriage relationship. It’s such an important part of marriage, as is the emotional connection and many other aspects.
What would you say has been the bravest thing you’ve done so far? The most fearful thing that you still chose to do?
Elaine: For me, it was definitely going to BSSM. We had to pack up our bags, take a break from our jobs, and take the kids out of school for a year, moving far from Singapore and into the unknown.
Desmond: For me, the bravest thing is public speaking. I’m naturally introverted and prefer quietness. I don’t like the limelight. That means that public speaking and sharing our testimony is something that’s really, really uncomfortable for me.
I guess a lot of performance mentality plays into that as well, thinking, “Oh, no, how are they going to see me? What if I say something wrong? What if I don’t do as well as I planned to do?”
Those thoughts have always been a huge barrier and fear to overcome. It’s a constant decision-making process and it’s very stressful. I often wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before speaking. I’m very comfortable with something quiet, like a nice talk over coffee, but the moment I realize people are watching, I’m super stressed out.
Desmond and Elaine Ng are dentists based in Singapore, who have three young children. They recently graduated from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, in Redding, California.
Click here to read the second part of our interview, where Desmond and Elaine share stories of God’s supernatural provision while in Bible school with their children, and give their insights on how to raise children with the Holy Spirit’s help.