A Different Kind of Green is the true story of Nathan Frederick’s life and ministry in India. Nathan and his wife Erika and their children arrived there as strangers and settled in a forlorn part of a city neighborhood not at all attractive to most Americans. It took time to get used to the crowds, the smells, the cows, and the local language. Had Nathan and his family been “regular Americans,” they would have chosen an upscale neighborhood in a gated community. But God called them to live among the poor and make a difference in their lives. Nathan asked local Muslims to help him learn the language and local customs. Local Muslims became his friends and his teachers. He met merchants and businessmen and began to see how a business for the poor might be established. With the help of people you will meet in this book, Nathan opened a school for teaching English as a second language. He hired local people to teach at the school. The lives of many Muslim students and their families were bettered on account of his Christian testimony. His employees made gains against the poverty that weighed upon their families. But human nature has its dark side; some of the people in Nathan’s neighborhood were dangerous and others were probably demonized. Nathan tells their stories as well.
A Different Kind of Green is about Nathan’s calling to “business as mission.” Early on, Nathan met Elliott, one of the finest men I know, and a practitioner of the art and skill of business as mission (now often called “Business for Transformation”—B4T). Nathan writes, “Elliot’s approach to ministry closely resembled what I wanted to do: start a business, make money, pay taxes, employ people, partially support myself with a salary, and create opportunities through business to share Jesus in the marketplace. The reality that someone else not only thought about this but practiced it, too, excited me.” Elliot became Nathan’s guide in two ways: first, Nathan brought the hope of new life in Christ to some of the poorest Muslim people in India. And he kept at it for years. Second, Nathan opened a real business in order to create wealth for local people, believing that God would open the doors to Christian witness.
I visited Nathan’s school in India and met his students. I am proud of all he has accomplished. Most of all I am proud that Nathan has become, like his mentor Elliot, a guide for younger Christians who want to make a difference in the lives of the poor. Nathan has mentored many who are now following the B4T model in the cities of Asia. Dear reader, maybe you, like Nathan, will place your feet on ground in neighborhoods where no Christians have resided before. A Different Kind of Green will inspire you to “go and do likewise.”
You can order Nathan’s book here.