As a senior at Liberty University in 1977, Joe Hale participated in a student missions outreach to Asia. During that time of short-term mission work, God touched his heart for the people of Korea. After much prayer and consideration, Joe and his new wife Annalee, dedicated their lives to serving in Korea. Not long after beginning their mission effort there, the Hales and some of their missionary friends believed God was calling them to open a small missionary school. They envisioned this school would educate about 30 students.
“But God had other plans,” Joe told National Liberty Journal.
On the school’s inaugural day, they were astounded to see 83 students arrive for classes. That initial large class was a foretaste of the rapid growth and success the school would experience over the years. Today, International Christian Schools, Korea, have over 1000 students.
“Little did we know that God would take our humble beginnings and build a worldwide ministry,” Joe said. “The school’s open enrollment policy brought children of all religions into the school, and eventually children from virtually all nations of the world.”
The staff of the school has found this to be a great opportunity to share their faith with a wonderfully diverse community of young people. The results as been the salvation of many students. During the first year alone, 70% of the total student body accepted Christ at the school.
As the school grew four campuses emerged in Korea, with children attending from about 45 other nations. The American-style education, using the English language for instruction, is a major drawing card in recruiting students from the international community.
“God then began to implant the idea in my heart, and the hearts of our entire team, that this concept could really be a missions strategy, as well,” Joe stated. “Through the classroom of Christian international schools, children of influential people from all over the world could be touched and reached with the gospel.”
In 1991, the Network of International Schools was born. An expansion project was immediately launched in Bangkok, Thailand. Next came Indonesia, Singapore and Austria. “God then began to open doors into South America and the first NICS school was opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1997,” Joe recounted. There are now six NICS schools in South America.
Miraculously, additional schools have since been initiated in China, Japan, Suriname, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Kenya, Germany, Turkey and Afghanistan, with possibilities developing in many new places. Today, NICS is placing over 100 new missionaries on the field each year. Most of them are teachers and, in most cases, full missions support is not needed, as salaries are available. Presently, NICS has about 335 missionaries on the field in its 17 schools. In addition, the organization is recruiting for about 100 new positions.
Joe shared what he calls his “Vision 20/20 with NLJ. This vision is a projection he is making for the ministry up to the year 2020. Joe believes a conservative estimate is that NICS will have 59 schools by that date. His dream is to include an international Christian school stateside.
On a recent visit to Liberty University, where two of his four sons and a daughter-in-law were enrolled, Joe overlooked the campus and commented, “This is the place where God changed my life, helped me find my wonderful wife, and gave me a vision for a lost world. I will be forever indebted for that.”
He added, “I can’t wait to see what God will do with my Children.”
Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder and chancellor of Liberty University, said, “I am so proud of Joe and Annalee Hale and their commitment to taking the light of Jesus Christ into this world. Many of our graduates annually serve in NICS schools. I look forward to many years of working together in a common cause to impact the lives of people worldwide with the gospel.”
National Liberty Journal readers interested in learning more about this remarkable ministry, may request information at the following address: NICS, PO Box 1260, Southaven, MS, 38671. Or you may call toll free (800– 887- 6427), or visit the NICS website: www.nics.org
Copied with the permission of National Liberty Journal
April 2000 National Liberty Journal