Sam Childers -- AKA the Machine Gun Preacher -- is coming to Tenterfield

Sam Childers with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army.
Sam Childers with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army.

FORMER outlaw motorcycle riding bad boy Sam Childers, aka the Machine Gun Preacher, has arrived in Australia for a four state tour which also takes in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, with a Tenterfield stopover.

Childers is in Australia to raise awareness for what is happening in South Sudan at the moment.

"There's a bloody, civil war happening there right now,'' he said.

"They say there's a supposed ceasefire... all we see is hundreds and hundreds of women and children hiding from the war".

In 1998 Childers saw the body of a child torn apart by a landmine  that lay in the burnt grass of Sudan. He recalls that he stood over that child's body and said, "God I'll do anything within my power to help these people.”

Little did he know at that time that it would be the start of an incredible journey to save thousands of children' s lives in South Sudan and Northern Uganda.

Childers will be in Australia for a month-long speaking tour to youth detention centres, prisons, schools, churches and businesses with the hope that his story will inspire the people of Australia.

He believes that if a 'scumbag' like him can make a change for the better,  anyone can.

Childers gave up his life of drugs and crime in the US outlaw biker world after his former wife Lynn (a dancer at a strip club in Florida) started going to a local church and invited him to come along.

Fast forward to today, there are more than one million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. A huge number of them are in Bidi Bidi (Northern Uganda), one of the largest refugee camps in the world.

They're  mostly women and children fleeing from the civil war of South Sudan.

Childers built his first orphanage in Nimule, South Sudan after selling nearly everything back in the US to keep his promise in helping the Sudanese and Ugandan children.

Most of the children have lost their parents due to terrible atrocities conducted by the then-warlord Joseph Kony and his rebel band known as the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army).

Sam Childers has helped thousands of refugees in Sudan.

Sam Childers has helped thousands of refugees in Sudan.

Childers rescued many child soldiers and sex slaves from local militia groups such as the LRA and the then SAF (Sudan Armed Forces - Northern Sudan - who were at civil war with South Sudan 1983 to 2005).

"Kony was wanting to destroy me ... and I wanted to get a hold of him to pay for his heinous crimes against innocent women and children,'' Childers said.

He reckons Kony is now still alive and hiding somewhere deep in the Congo.

With an AK47 in one hand and a bible in the other, Childers has become internationally recognised as the 'Machine Gun Preacher'.

His story was published in his best-selling biography Another Man's War which was turned into a Hollywood motion picture  in 2011 called The Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler.

Childers' charity known as Angels of East Africa today has seven orphanages, eight schools and has drilled around 40 wells for clean drinking water.

He also has a 600 hectare farm in the north of Uganda and a new truck-roadhouse (partially built) where he teaches trades and skills to victims of war.

Childers organisation also prepares around 12,000 meals most days.

"We don't want them to be begging on the streets, we want to train them for tomorrow, give them a skill, a trade and send the smart ones to a university,” he said.

"We want them to be national leaders, but we cannot do that unless we give them an education,” something Childers says he never had.

In 2013 he received the Mother Teresa Award for International Social Justice (the largest award of its type in the world for International Social Justice) and he's the only American ever to be bestowed with that honour. The Dalai Lama and UK House of Lords representative Baroness Caroline Cox have also received this award.

The movie and the book  Another Man's War propelled Childers to an overnight brand that has seen him speak to audiences of 10's of thousands all around the world - not to mention the many TV/film productions he's been asked to be involved in.

Childers organisation also prepares around 12,000 meals most days.

Childers organisation also prepares around 12,000 meals most days.

As well as Tenterfield,  Childers’ Australian tour will take in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, including centres in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.

Everybody invited to come and hear Sam speak and tell his story and have an opportunity to meet him in person.  Books and other merchandise will be available for purchase.

He will be at the Tenterfield Memorial Hall in Molesworth Street from 7pm on Thursday, September 13. Entry is free and all are welcome.