- Full Name Sam Childers
- Occupation Activist
- Nationality American
- Birthplace North Dakota, USA
Sam Childers | Biography 2021Co-founder of Angels of East Africa, Founder and Rev. of Shekinah Fellowship Church in Central City, Pennsylvania.
Sam Childers and his wife Lynn co-founded Angels of East Africa, the Children's Village Orphanage in Nimule, South Sudan. The non-profit organization now cares for over 300 children who were rescued from South Sudan's war zone. He was awarded the 'Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice' in 2013. He was into drugs, consumed marijuana, and became a dealer at a younger age. He became a Christian in 1992 and dared to conduct rescue missions directly into the Lord's Resistance Army's territory in Northern Uganda (1998-2007) and Southern Sudan (1999-2010), rescuing over 1,000 stolen children. Sam Childers, who is fondly called by the natives as "The Machine Gun Preacher" as he carries a gun and a bible, has become a global figure for children afflicted by internal strife.
Sam Childers is a former Outlaws member who now devotes his time and resources to rescuing children in South Sudan's war zone.
Who is Sam Childers?
Sam Childers and his wife Lynn founded Angels of East Africa, the Children's Village Orphanage in Nimule, South Sudan. The non-profit organization now cares for over 300 children. He was awarded the 'Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice' in 2013.
Early Life and Education
Sam Childers was born in 1963 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to a stay-at-home mother and an ironmaker father as one of the three kids in their family. His family migrated from state to state due to the upcoming large building projects and finally settled in Minnesota. Childers disliked school, which eventually made him engage in drinking and smoking marijuana.
During his eighth grade, he began using L.S.D. and amphetamines. He was soon addicted to heroin and other narcotics. He subsequently transitioned from being a consumer to a dealer. When he was younger and continuously getting into trouble, his father warned him often like this, "Boy, if you don't straighten up, someone's gonna kill you one day."
As he was so good at identifying veins for shooting up, the townies named him "Doc" when he was 16. Later, Childers graduated from high school and moved out the next year. He started lugging around a sawed-off shotgun. He bought his first huge motorcycle with the drug money and soon joined the biker gangs like Outlaws, Hells Angels, and Pagans.
Life wasn't the same for Childers after he went through a remarkable transformation from a violent thug to a man of faith. Childers became a Christian in 1992 after promising his wife that he would come to Jesus if they had a child. A baby was born. Childers left the life of drugs and crime behind to start a modest church in rural Pennsylvania.
When he sought help from religion, his pastor sent him to Sudan to assist in the reconstruction of villages damaged during the conflict.
In an interview, Childers described his relationship with God and how he helped him conquer drugs and alcohol, "If God wasn't in what I do, I don't believe I'd be alive," and added, "If a person doesn't agree with my ways, that's fine – that's what freedom is all about, that we believe in what we want to believe in. But if you're not going to believe in something, and if you're not going to support something, you should have another way that would fix the problem."
Orphanage in Sudan
In 1998, he utilized his modest savings to travel to Sudan on his first missionary journey. He wound up near the Ugandan border, where a complex and violent conflict - one of Africa's "forgotten wars" had been raging since 1987. The Lord's Resistance Army (L.R.A.), a Ugandan guerrilla group commanded by Joseph Kony, was at the epicenter of the conflict. The L.R.A.'s avowed purpose had been to depose Uganda's government and replace it with a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments.
Childers stated, "A metal disk approximately the size of a dinner plate" was what turned him into a zealot. Subsequently, Childers began to spend most of his time in Sudan, sold his construction company, sold his pit bulls, auctioned his antique gun collection, and mortgaged his house to help pay for regular visits to Sudan.
He conceived the true plight of the thousands of youngsters whose parents were killed in the conflict. In due course, Childers planned to open an orphanage in Sudan. Realizing he had to act so armed only with his faith, a mosquito net hung from a tree, and an AK-47, Childers began rescuing children to create the Children's Village, which is today a thriving orphanage.
Presently, more than 300 youngsters are taken care of at the orphanage. Soldiers protect the orphanage around the clock. It's worth noting that Children's Village is the only non-governmental organization (N.G.O.) in the area that serves its original purpose. As a result, the children there live in a more secure and stable environment. For these children, the Children's Village is a beacon of hope in the bleakest of situations.
Without the orphanage's personnel, many would starve to death or be kidnapped by the L.R.A. and forced to serve as child soldiers. Instead, they've been given a chance to "become children again," a concept that guides the staff's everyday activities. Childers had built a playground in South Sudan, the only playground in the vicinity. He is constructing three libraries on the land and is constructing an elementary school adjacent to the estate. In addition to standard schooling, children are taught to play soccer and are made to participate in the regional soccer league.
'Machine Gun Preacher'
Natives initially nicknamed Childers as "Preacher" when they found him sleeping on a grass mat with the bible on one side. When they saw him carrying a machine gun, they exclaimed, "Ah no, that's the Machine Gun Preacher." Soon, a report appeared with the headline "Machine Gun Preacher." Though he was not for the name, he was taken aback by the article and decided to claim and accept the title. From then, he went by the moniker "Machine Gun Preacher" for his documentaries and films.
Sam Childers wrote a book 'Another Man's War' in 2008. In 2011, an action drama biographical film of Sam Childers, Machine Gun Preacher, was released. Based on it, a documentary film with the same title was released in 2014.
Childers became the most popular person among the newspeople in the United States after appearing on N.B.C.'s Dateline in 2005. They spent two weeks in Sudan with him and produced a 30-minute documentary. Overnight, they received over 300 emails requesting a book written on his life and demanding a documentary and film on him.
The most difficult part for Childer was after seeing the film's premiere, which unfolded everything about him. Childers got excited about how his thirty years of life were put in a film. He felt that the timeline was mixed up as thirty years of the story needs to be put up in a two-hour time, but he admitted that everything was true.
Childers, the Vice President of Angels of East Africa, returned to the United States after surviving an intense lockdown in Uganda during the COVID-19 situation. However, he expanded his automotive repair shop and store during the pandemic.
He claimed that the COVID-19 closure initially harmed his non-profit and for-profit businesses, but they are currently doing well due to some significant modifications.
Childers noted that he had to cut his own, his brother's, and his C.E.O.'s salary at first. He recently employed two new staff and has plans to hire another one soon.
Childers lost revenue in the early days of the epidemic as his stuff like jewelry, knives, motorcycle gear, and clothing was not sold in his store. As a result, Childers stated that he altered his business model and focused solely on online sales. He also put a lot of effort into the Machine Gun Preacher brand, hiring a publicist to help spread the word.
Sam Childer's 'Another Man's War' portrayed the incredible turnaround from a violent thug to a man of faith and his continuous campaign to save children in one of the world's most chaotic locations. John Rich, the lead singer of Big & Rich, reviewed the book as, "Sam Childers is one of those rare men [who is] willing to do literally whatever it takes to promote the message of Jesus Christ and save children from the tyranny of evil men."
Awards and Recognition
On October 27, 2013, "The Machine Gun Preacher," Sam Childers received the 'Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice,' one of the greatest awards granted by the Harmony Foundation in Mumbai, India, for his humanitarian and beneficent activities through the Angels of East Africa.
Childers got the award for his devotion, passion, and dedication in leading rescue missions directly into the Lord's Resistance Army's territory in Northern Uganda (1998-2007) and Southern Sudan (1999-2010), resulting in the rescue of over 1,000 stolen children. As a result of his work, Sam Childers, also known as "The Machine Gun Preacher" in the area, has become a global figure for children afflicted by internal strife.
Lynn, a former stripper, is Childers' wife. Childers was soothed by Lynn, whom he met during a heroin trade at the Fox Hole club in Orlando, Florida, in the early 1980s. Later, Lynn found faith, and Childers followed too. He is the founder and the Reverend of the Shekinah Fellowship Church in Central City, Pennsylvania.
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