ICAN: A Light in Nagoya

June 01, 2011 | Orchards
By Duane Jobe

ICAN: A Light in Nagoya

We like our name. ICAN. It stands out in Japan and conveys a positive, encouraging feeling. It says that we believe our students can be all that God created them to be, and that they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength. It says that they have value, hope and a future with Christ. They indeed can be future men and women who are world changers.

Our Story

Our story begins in 1991 when eight missionary families formed the Nagoya Christian Academy. In 2000 the school joined NICS and was renamed the International Christian Academy of Nagoya (ICAN) with 33 students. This year God has blessed us with 115 students and 13 teaching faculty in kindergarten through tenth grade. ICAN students represent 11 different nations and come from missionary, international business, and local families.

A Vision to See Hearts, Minds, and Lives Transformed

Since its beginning, ICAN’s vision has been to see children come to know Christ. In a nation with very few Christians (less than 1% of the population), ICAN has a unique opportunity to not only support the local missionary community, but to also reach both internationals working in Nagoya as well as local Japanese families. ICAN’s faculty and staff are passionate about sharing Christ’s love with the children and their families, and to see their lives changed forever by God.

Kelli Grondahl, P.E. teacher and Athletic Director, has been on staff at ICAN since 2008. She speaks of God’s work at the school:

God is doing amazing things at ICAN. I have taught at ICAN for the past three years and this year I have the unique opportunity of leading a girls homeroom. Every Monday-Friday morning, I get to meet with our secondary girls for a time of "girl talk", peer counseling sessions, and bible studies. Japan is a nation with very little understanding of vulnerability which means many of our students have learned/adapted to thinking vulnerability is bad. God has been slowly peeling back the layers of shallowness through girls homeroom this year, and many more girls are being able to share and learn from one another on a deeper level. I could never be more blessed to be a part of it.

Because we desire to see lives changed, we strive to offer the very best education possible. This school year ICAN added 10th grade, and will continue to add an additional grade each year for the next two years. The faculty and staff are dedicated to excellence in the classroom, as well outside the classroom. Recently ICAN began participating in secondary athletic tournaments. We have also added additional sports elementary soccer and baseball.


Our team of professional educators at ICAN is truly amazing. The faculty is excited about their classes, as well as about sharing the love of Christ with their kids. Team ICAN continues to grow and strengthen. We come from many different nations and US states, and have different gifts and abilities. God has knit together a diverse group of men and women who are unified in mission. It is a pleasure to serve here with such a great team.

ICAN is an exciting place to be. We have an incredible opportunity to influence and encourage the hearts and minds of children from around the world. ICAN is a light in Nagoya, so that our students can know that they have value, so that they can know that they are loved, and so that they can be prepared academically for the challenges they will face in the world. They really can do all things through Christ who gives them strength. And you can too!

If you are interested in what God is doing at ICAN visit us at www.icanjapan.org.

Duane is originally from western Texas in the U.S. He first served with NICS at International Christian School in Uijongbu beginning in 1999, where he taught high school science. Since then, Duane has served with NICS in Seoul, Korea, and Nagoya, Japan. He and his wife have a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. Duane and his wife love sharing Christ with third culture kids and seeing God transform their lives.



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