Story of hope draws huge crowd
A POWERFUL message of hope has helped raise more than $10,000 in one night to go towards a preacher’s work in wartorn African countries.
Close to 300 people from around the region gathered at Beechworth’s Memorial Hall to hear from American man Sam Childers, a former drug addict and dealer with a history of crime and violence who turned his life around through religion.
A captivated audience listened to an incredible story told by the man known as the Machine Gun Preacher, about his journey into the ministry and his life-saving work that started in Africa 20 years ago.
Mr Childers since then has rescued hundreds of enslaved African children.
The 56 year-old motivational speaker on tour with his 12th visit to Australia in the past decade has spoken in 27 countries around the world on his mission to save people’s lives and change others.
“I’m taking a message of hope – what we all have in common – to all nations,” he said.
Until last year he led armed missions in south- ern Sudan and northern Uganda to save kidnapped children from the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army.
Through his charity The Angels of East Africa, Mr Childers built his first orphanage in southern Sudan in 1998 – now the largest in the country – that has cared for more than 1500 children from that time.
His teams have constructed another four orphanages as well as schools and numerous wells for clean drinking water across northern Uganda and Ethiopia too.
The projects provide and fund over 12,000 meals a day for numerous East African programs.
With a focus on giving war victims education, skills and trades for their future, among another eight projects, underdevelopment is a purposebuilt six story building in Ethiopia that will provide a bakery, cafe, hotel accommodation, conference centre, shops, bank, supermarket and home to around 60 children.
A 1000 acre commercial farm operates in northern Uganda with a highway truck stop project in progress that will include a motel, restau- rant, service station and a supermarket already in operation.
He said as well as educating, training and employing victims of war, needs of the community and tourists are met through the projects that also help with funding.
“It takes one decade for the rehabilitation of war victims,” Mr Childers said.
Beechworth’s Paula Rangi who was behind Mr Childers visit to the town will be leading a two-week mission to help with his projects in Africa in mid-July next year.
“I would love to hear from people who want to give back and help those in need from war-torn countries in Africa,” she said.
Beechworth’s Louise Taylor who watched the movie The Machine Gun Preacher based on Mr Childers biography Another Man’s War, wasn’t disappointed with the talk.
“He’s genuine with a passion for God and people,” she said.
The Salvation Army and Beechworth Lions supported the talk which drew people from as far as Benalla, Broadford and Gippsland.
MESSAGE OF HOPE: American Sam Childers, known as the Machine Gun Preacher, delivered a captivating talk about his work in Africa to a packed crowd at Beechworth’s Memorial Hall last week.
INCREDIBLE STORY: Sam Childers with Beechworth’s Paula Rangi (left) and Salvation Army Captain Pauline Middleton at his talk.