NICS — Our Heritage, Our Hopes
Addressing a need
Some missionary kids in Korea needed a school. After much prayer, our founder, Joe Hale, responded to the need and, with the help and support of a few other missionaries, founded our first school in 1983. Little did we know that God would use these humble beginnings to start a movement that would one day touch the world.
The school's first year brought a gratifying response. We expected 30 students, but God brought 83. Within a few short years the school grew to be one of the largest international schools in Korea, with more than 60 countries represented in the student body.
God did His thing
Many students in those first years received Jesus Christ as their Savior. "Open" enrollment enabled children from all faiths to be exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ. During the first few years, primarily Americans enrolled, but by the fourth year of the school, children from many different nations started to arrive. These children were not only from varied cultures and backgrounds, but also from a variety of religious backgrounds, including Christians, Jewish, Mormon, Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu and Animist. The school's good academic and moral reputation, enhanced by a reasonable pricing structure, encouraged parents to enroll their children in record numbers, and we began to see tremendous spiritual impact. God was indeed putting something together that was bigger than all of us! This was not originally intended to be a global plan to reach the world, but God's heart for the world pushed us forward, as He opened our eyes to what He was doing in our midst.
A worldwide strategy appeared
While we were doing our best just to learn how to operate a school overseas, God was laying out before us a plan whereby we could literally touch the world from our classrooms. We began to understand what God already knew:
- He was bringing the world to us
- The families of our students were people of influence in their respective countries
- They were more open to hearing the Good News when they were outside of their own culture
- They were willing to pay tuition and fees that would enable us to pay our staff and also cover most ongoing expenses
- We could make a tremendous contribution to the greater Body of Christ by helping provide Kingdom workers' children with the kind of education they need
- The "expatriate" community exists in large numbers in most major cities of the world; therefore the strategy could also work almost anywhere
As we prayed and responded to what God was doing, it became evident that by networking and partnering, we could accomplish much more than any individual school or ministry could ever do alone. With that in mind, the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS) was incorporated in January 1992, and we began planning to expand beyond Korea. The first project outside Korea was planned for Bangkok, Thailand.
God has blessed us far beyond what any of us could have imagined! In 1993, NICS began to launch new schools throughout Asia. In addition, some existing schools joined the network. Schools were then added in Indonesia, Singapore, East Asia, and Japan. Presently NICS has sixteen schools in Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Peru, Kosova, Japan, East Asia, Kenya, Turkey, Bolivia, Malaysia, Tanzania, and the USA (headquarters for NorthStar Academy, our online school).
OASIS International Schools
It soon became clear that the educational opportunities in some countries required a different approach due to sensitivity to religious issues. OASIS International Schools was formed as a way of expanding effective ministry to those countries by adapting our approach slightly. As a faith-based agency with dedicated Christian teachers, we have found that we can effectively impact others by offering a values-based, character-rich education that emphasizes respect for people from all different religious and non-religious backgrounds.
We've come a long way in a short time!
- Home office established near Memphis, TN; presently staffed by 23 people
- Home office primarily supported by overseas operations
- More than 800 staff in the field; we place an average of 200 new staff per year
- Mostly (80%) salaried positions
- Approximately $67 million in overseas annual income
- Fundraising primarily only needed for these things: new project start-ups and stabilization costs, supplemental income for some staff (newer projects and larger families), and special needs (e.g.. technology)
The future looks bright!
As God allows and provides, we will continue to expand our network.
Praise be to God. GREAT things He has done!
Thank you for your prayers and support.