"Risk it, Mate."

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Now, I don’t know if God has an Australian accent, but I did hear Him say, “Risk it, Mate.”

Last December, I was sitting on the couch, and I heard God ask me, “When will you take a risk where you might actually fail? When will you do something that you know you can’t do without me?” Immediately, I felt convicted. I knew I had been playing it safe and small, especially with my passion for worship leading. I was content believing lies that God couldn’t use my voice in ways beyond I could see. These questions brought me to the edge of my comfort zone, and on the other side I could see freedom, joy, and unimaginable adventure waiting. Yet fear, doubt, and pride held me back from crossing the threshold.

And then I realized this: God wasn’t holding out on His wildly abundant and seemingly impossible plans for my life; I was holding out on Him. I decided I didn’t want to reach the end of my life only to regret I hadn’t risked it all for Christ. For Christ risked it all for me, for you, and for the whole world, so that we could have life, and life to the full. And so my heart reached a brand new level of surrender and I prayed, “Thy will be done.” Little did I know how those four words were about to change my life.

When I went home for Christmas, I shared some of these thoughts with my  family (That’s a really nice way of saying I panicked and dramatically cried while telling them I have no idea what I want to do with my life). My sister, Elizabeth, suddenly remembered that I had expressed interest in Hillsong College during my senior year at Hope. Fear and faith immediately flooded my heart when I was reminded of that dream.

Fear said, “You’re going to quit your safe, full time, salary job for the unknown? What a waste. God is not going to use you. You don’t have the money for Hillsong College. It’s impossible.”

But faith said: “This is your moment to put into action what you’ve prayed. This is your chance to jump off the edge of your comfort zone and dive into the power and provision of God like never before. Whatever you are trying to hold onto in fear will never satisfy you when you let go in faith and hold onto God instead.”

I entered the new year with faith on one shoulder and fear on the other. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but God had made it clear that my word for 2018 was obey. It’s safe to assume that definitely freaked me out.

When I returned to work, I asked God to make it clear if I should stay or go. It was during this time of discernment I was diagnosed with vocal nodules. Every doctor told me that if I stayed in teaching, I would always have nodules. This news on top of what God was stirring in my heart led me to take a risk I thought I’d never take, and so I announced at the end of February that I was leaving my job, with absolutely nothing else lined up.

Shortly after my announcement, I had to take two weeks off of work to go on complete voice rest. (Yes, believe it or not, it is possible for me to be silent… miracle number one in this story).

I felt crushed and confused. How could God be stirring my passion for worship leading, and yet I had nodules for the second time in my life? “Maybe it’s true,” I thought, “God can’t use me. I’m not good enough.”

But during my time of silence, God spoke His voice of truth over every lie. His will for my life is not threatened by a diagnosis. He gave me this voice for a reason, and if I give it back to Him, He will be faithful to do more than I can ask or imagine. Without Him, it’s true, I’m useless. But with Him, all things are possible.

I ultimately realized fear was the only reason I wouldn’t go to Hillsong College. And then I remembered what God asked me in December and I heard him say, “Risk it, Mate.”

I could play it safe and always be left to wonder what my life what would have been like on the other side of that risk, or I could obediently say yes, and find the greatest reward of all waiting in the middle of the unknown: Jesus Christ.

Ultimately this is why I am going to Hillsong. Yes, I value the reputation of Hillsong Church and the quality of its global leadership, and long to sharpen and use my abilities in worship leading, in hopes of seeing if God wants me to pursue full time ministry as my next career choice, but most importantly, I just want more of God and whatever His plans are for my life.

Thank you for supporting me on this journey. And thank you, Jesus, that my voice has healed! I have no idea how God’s going to bring it all together, but I’m confident He will. I hope as you join me on this adventure, God will speak fresh hope and truth over your life, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll also hear Him whisper to you, “Risk it, Mate.”

So, what will I be studying at Hillsong College and how much does it cost?

Certificate IV in Ministry, Worship Stream (Vocals Focus)

Dates: January 24th-December 3rd, 2019

Core Subjects (260 hours)

New Testament Introduction, Old Testament Introduction, Christine Doctrine, Spirit-Filled Living, Personal Leadership, Personal Evangelism, Teamwork, Communication in Ministry, Church and Ministry

Stream Subjects (220 hours)

The Worship Team, Vocal Techniques, Music Theory for Vocals, Principles of Worship, Worship Ensemble

Practicum (240 hours)

Hands-on ministry experience outside the classroom, will be determined once I am at Hillsong college

-I am covering tuition cost: $6,000 

-I am covering 1 year of overseas health care: $600

-I already brought my one-way flight to Sydney! $700

Living Expenses (Rent, groceries, bus fare): $10,000+ This is where your support goes a long way! Thank you so much!

-Many Hillsong students work a part time job while they are there to help cover their expenses. This is my plan.

Follow @liangdownunder on Instagram for updates on fundraising merch, events, and to see this wild adventure unfold!

Click here  to check out Hillsong College’s website!

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Catherine Liang 
Costa Mesa, CA