'Machine Gun Preacher' Lands On Sunshine Coast Next Month
Sam 'The Machine Gun Preacher' & young Samuel. Image Supplied.
The 'Machine Gun Preacher' lands on the Sunshine Coast next month.
Sam Childers will speak at CityEdge Church in Caloundra on Sunday September 15.
The 57-year-old ex-drug dealer armed guard travelled to Southern Sudan and Uganda, countries in the middle of civil wars, to set up an orphanage.
During the day, Sam was building the huts that would house the children; during the evening, he was sleeping under a mosquito net slung from a tree; bible in one hand, AK47 in the other.
Sam 'The Machine Gun Preacher' with Hollywood Actor Gerard Butler. Image Supplied
Sam began to lead armed missions to rescue children from rebel group Lord's Resistance Army. It wasn’t long before tales of his exploits spread and villagers began to call him “The Machine Gun Preacher."
He said he got the number 18 or 20 years ago after someone saw him in South Sudan during the Civil War, "walking down the road with a machine gun on my shoulder and some kids around me and I went back to the US and they really hacked on me bad and ended up telling people 'oh he's not a man of God, he's a not a Preacher, he carries a gun'".
But Mr Childers said someone ran a story on the front page of a newspaper, labelling him the 'Machine Gun Preacher'. He admitted that back in those days he was worried about his reputation.
He said he cried out to God and heard the reply come back, "stop your whining, and claim that name, that name will be a marketing tool".
At that stage, the Machine Gun Preacher said he never dreamed he'd be writing books, filming documentaries and movies.
Sam calls Africa home and has built five orphanages and seven schools so far. His focus is to teach kids from war torn regions a skill or a trade to give them a future. They work with restaurants and hotels and train young people to work there as well as at B&B'S, welding shops, supermarkets, service stations and on construction sites.
They are working with up to 800 people a day and primarily help people aged 17 to around 26.
He explained that his belief is that "if you want to change a nation, it always begins with the education" as work begins on his eighth school.
Sam 'The Machine Gun Preacher' & Josephine. Image Supplied
His team also works on repairing roads and wells.
The 'Machine Gun Preacher' has lived in Africa for around 27 years and returns to America twice a year.
Sam said his message is one of 'hope'. "A lot of times, when a missionary comes, we start thinking rightaway, 'oh he's just coming for our money' and people are shocked when they hear me because I always make it clear, mission work begins at home".
He also wants to motivate and inspire others to "step out" and do something for the world.
Sam will speak at CityEdge Church in Caloundra on Sunday September 15 from 6:00PM.
By Michelle Price