About Nate Fleming

chinaNate Fleming was born near tobacco fields in North Carolina and raised in the mountains of Virginia.  If you could travel back in time and ask young Nate about his future, he would never – in a million years – have guessed where life would take him.

It all started on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, when Nate saw this interesting girl walking across campus wearing Pippi Longstockingesque long stockings – bright rainbow colors.  He inquired about her, and found her name was Koolyash, and she was from Kazakhstan.

Fast forward ahead five years, and Nate and Koolyash are now married and living in Kazakhstan.  They decided to live there for a couple of years so that Nate could learn her culture.  But God has a way of doing surprising things, and if you fast forward ahead again another five years, and you’ll see that Nate has founded an English-language theater group called KELT (the Kazakhstan English Language Theater) and they are now a little family with two wee ones running around their home.  Joshua and Asena, the two cutest little kids on the planet.

Atyrau, Kazakhstan

Fast forward again five years, and the little family has relocated to the other side of Kazakhstan, to Koolyash’s hometown of Atyrau, where Nate is now teaching at an international school and starting a new KELT program.  Atyrau is not without its charms, but not the place most people would choose to live, including people from Kazakhstan.  But the little family loves it, and loves living near family for a change.

But the little family doesn’t typically sit still, and so do another five year fast forward and you’ll find them in a new part of the world, a little country called China.

They spent nine years in China, two in the spiciest city in China – Chengdu (where a third child – Noah Abai – joined the family), and then they moved to the coast – across the bay from Hong Kong in Shenzhen where they lived until summer 2021.

After a one year sabbatical back in the United States, Nate and his family moved to an entirely new part of the world… to Montenegro on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, where Nate teaches full time, writes in his spare time, and does theater when he can.

Where will the little family be in five more years?  God only knows, but if the past twenty+ years are any indication, it should be pretty interesting!


Thimblerig’s Ark was conceived while Nate sat in Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub in Charleston, South Carolina, listening to the band play a song about why the unicorn missed out on Noah’s Ark.  Thimblerig’s Ark looks at how the animals all made it there in the first place, focusing on a con-artist groundhog named Thimblerig.

10365360_10203107930197338_2953856792894949366_oNate Fleming is available to speak as an author, and as a commentator on Christian media.  For more information, email Nate at info@thimblerigsark.com.


18 thoughts on “About Nate Fleming

  1. Funny the strange and wild path that life takes us. And thinking of Central Asia, approximately 12 years ago I spent 3 weeks in Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek and Talas) and Kazakstan (mainly transiting to and from Talas and to and from the airport in Almaty). It was cold and so snowy that I thought I would surely die on the nigh time car journey between Biskek and Almaty.

  2. Remember “false teachers crept in unawares” Not saying there should b a little room for compelling expression, but “wide is the way…”

  3. Hey Nate. My name’s Jesse Mast. I really appreciated your blog about “Christian Filmmaking,” and the tragedy that it currently is. Someone I know, Craig Detweiler, from Pepperdine University, encouraged me to do ACT ONE. Which I would love, but my wife and I live in MN, and we have a young two kids, so finding the right time has been tricky. However, we are passionate about impacting/entertaining the culture through film…GOOD film, that is.

    I made a short film in southern France not long ago that I think you might enjoy. It’s called “Les Esclaves” (the slaves). It’s been shown/will be shown at some festivals around the country. The story is: Two friends live as slaves in ancient Italy. One of them hates their master, but the other reveres him. When tragedy strikes their master’s house, both slaves must decide what is more important: to be free, or to stay alive. https://vimeo.com/71993079

    If you want to see it, let me know. It’d be fun to connect as well. At the very least it would be nice to engage with another comrade.

    Take care and God Bless,

  4. A wonderful story you are living. Thanks for sharing it all with us. I read your post about Christian filmmaking and was very impressed. Have you seen the film version of Donald Miller’s book, “Blue Like Jazz”? That is the closest I have ever seen a Christian film come to reality, to art and to being comfortable with asking questions without giving all the answers. The book was better but the film ain’t too bad, either.

    I am a visual artist but also dabble in creative writing, acting, music, etc. I have been in Christian ministry for almost 20 years but because of my artistic bent have always felt on the margins. I greatly appreciate your perspective. It makes me realize that I am not alone.

    My daughter is an aspiring writer who is currently working on a wonderful version of Jesus’ story she is calling “The Fisherman’s Tale”. I urged her to read your article as she will be able to relate very much to what you have written.

    My thanks, again. Keep up the creativity. You are not alone! Peace.

    • Thanks so much, Ronald! That’s the best result of this article for me – to see just how many Christians out there are attempting to be creative in their lives and ministries! And I have seen and read Blue Like Jazz, and agree that it went where few films and books made by Christians have gone. Have you read Miller’s book on Story?

      Blessings to you and your daughter, and best wishes on her writing!


  5. a. my dream job is teaching in Astana. But God has times and seasons for our dreams.
    b. I like the Davy Crockett reference!
    c. I want to read more of what you’ve written.

  6. Hi Nate,

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and I really enjoy what you have to say. I have Thimblerig’s Ark on Kindle, but haven’t gotten a chance to sit down and read it yet. But I want to thank you for your frankness and for witnessing to the truth in unique and thoughtful ways.

    It’s my prayer that God will continue to bless you in your endeavors for his glory,


    • Thanks so much, Stephen! I just visited your blog and would say the same back to you. Keep up the good work! And thanks for downloading Thimblerig. I’ll look forward to your thoughts!


  7. Dear Nate,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in China, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expatand your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  8. Hi Nate,

    Fascinating adventure you’ve been on! Will look up your book simply because it was conceived in Tommy Condon’s — one of the first places I visited when I came here to the US ten years ago. (I’m a native Irishman who married the North Carolina girl who took him to Tommy Condon’s…we could go on!)

    Found my way to your biography from your writings on Christian film and what we can and must do about it. Encouraging to know that you (and so many more) share not just my frustrations but my aspirations. Thanks for taking the time and energy to do what you’ve done. Keep fighting the fight, and good luck with Thimblerig!


    • John,

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. Glad to see that someone else has fond memories of Tommy Condon’s, although my guess is that it’s a very Americanized version of an Irish pub.

      Took a look at your Script site, and it looks good! If I ever get around to adapting Thimblerig’s Ark into a feature script, I might have use of your services.

      Meanwhile, come join the conversation over at the Sacred Arts Revolution on Facebook. We have a small but growing community of people there who are ready for a reformation in Christianity and the arts.


  9. Wow!! From the States, to Kazakhstan, to China; you’ve led a pretty amazing life. I’ve lived in 6 countries, myself. 3 thanks to my father’s various diplomatic postings; and 3 I went for higher studies. Glad to have come across your Blog!! Merry Christmas!!

  10. I just found your site because of a post you were sharing on Facebook about a comedy film…. Check out my work at funnyandamen.com . Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty are amazing films. They reach the audience I am trying to reach… Each film has a Christian message, wrapped in a not-so-perfect-fiction story-entertainment-comedy wrapper. (no different than the not-so-perfect-historical-Biblical-fiction-story-entertainment-warpper or the not-so-perfect-dramatic-fiction-story-entertainment- wrapper.) In the Almighty films, the bold message goes down easy for an audience that wants to be entertained rather than preached to. I am currently trying to find 50 patrons to support comedy projects… Check it out at patreon.com/funnyandamen . Comedy doesn’t fit neatly into the Christian market, because it stirs up topics that most Christians want to let alone.

    When some folks find out I am doing comedy the #1 question I get from Christians is: “You aren’t gonna make fun of Christians, are you?”
    I tell them “Of course not, I think Jesus is calling me to make fun of Jews and Atheists and Muslims”.
    (blank stare)

    The natural second question is always: ” Well, you aren’t going to do anything crude, are you?”
    At this point I tell them about some of my wife and my favorite Bible stories… (Elijah, Ehu) They aren’t the kind of scenes you see in a typical Christian film… they fit a lot better in Bruce and Evan Almighty.

    The audience for today’s Faith-Based films (drama genre or “boy with dog”, or “girl with horse” films) are 100% a Mom audience. This is the natural progression from the audience that started out shopping in the Christian bookstore. These films are safe. And parents and pastors like safe and encouraging.
    The modern Christian films are careful, nurturing, and the “obvious” prodigal (drunk, drugs, rebel, Non-Believer, adulterer) always comes home.

    The audience for Christian-worldview comedy films are probably 50% Christian and 50% Agnostic. To get to this audience its easier to go through non-Christian channels, since many Christians won’t outright endorse these films. I’d love to connect and like another writer said… Check out Blue like Jazz.. great film. Another great film is Heavenbound and even The Resurrection of Gavin Stone…

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