Mississippi Delta and Mexico City Seeds
June 29, 2013 | Seeds
By Blake Weaver
In March of this year, I spoke with a friend of mine who is a farmer in the Mississippi Delta. Our conversation centered on the idea of the planting season, and I was amazed to learn about all the factors that farmers take into consideration when planning their crop seeds for the year. There is much more to the planting season than I had ever imagined, and the process is much more involved than simply driving a tractor around a field and planting the seeds. The weather, soil, quality of seed, etc. all make a huge difference in the seed’s ability to flourish.
This conversation with my farmer friend resonated with me as I thought about the process of starting a new NICS/Oasis school. While NICS/Oasis has been in the business of starting schools for over 30 years now, I have been personally involved in two (going on three) new school start-ups since I have been working at the Home Office over the past five years. The amount of planning involved in actually starting a new school is much more complex than I ever thought possible. Just as a farmer must consider a plethora of variables to determine the exact time to plant his seeds, the same is true for us in regard to planting a new school. For NICS/Oasis there are several key factors that must be considered when starting a new school. Some of the key factors include:
• Available Funding- A substantial amount of capital investment is typically needed with starting a new school. This is usually our largest consideration and challenge.
• Market Demand- The academic program that NICS/Oasis offers is quite differentiated from other international schools. Therefore, a sizeable target market must exist in the city that we are considering, and our target market must show signs of interest in our program.
• Favor with Local Government- Private education is tightly monitored by most governments around the world, and obtaining a school license is no small task. Therefore, it is important for us to have some indication that we will be granted a school license before we decide to plant a school.
• Key Local Partners- It is highly beneficial to for us to have one or more key partners committed to working with us. These partners typically already live within the city that we are considering, so their local knowledge is valuable for us in many ways.
Another fascinating thing that I gleaned from my conversation with the farmer is the amount of excitement and anticipation surrounding the planting season. It was palpable for this particular farmer. For my friend the planting is just as important a task as the harvest, for the former is not possible without the latter. Furthermore, the actual planting cannot occur unless so many variables have come to fruition. Similarly, it is a very joyous occasion when the leadership of NICS makes a decision to plant a new school.
For the past several months, NICS/Oasis has been considering a new school start-up in Mexico City. The initial inquiry made by a few individuals in Mexico City was quite similar to what NICS/Oasis receives on a regular basis. However, after a few conversations with a couple of key local partners and a site visit to Mexico City, this particular opportunity seemed quite favorable. Additionally, a deeper assessment of the market in Mexico City revealed a very positive feasibility outlook. The key factors mentioned above (plus several others) were evident, and it currently appears quite possible for this new school to start in the fall of 2014. In fact, NICS/Oasis has agreed to pursue the project, and we are trusting God to provide wisdom and direction as we progress through this “planting season.”
The purpose of NICS is “to reach the world for Christ through international Christian education.” Practically speaking, this is being accomplished through a network of schools around the world. Therefore, planting a new school increases our ability to fulfill the work that God has entrusted us to do. So, the planting season is an exciting time for us. Yes, it requires careful and tedious planning; however, we believe that a great harvest is possible as a result of a newly planted school.
Ultimately, both the farming community and NICS community are utterly dependent upon God’s sovereignty and provision. Only in God’s timing can we plant seeds and reap the harvest. May seeds grow in the Mississippi Delta, Mexico City, and all over the world for His glory!