Sam Childers arriving at a book signing of
Another Man's War
|Born||1963 (age 55–56)|
Grand Forks, North Dakota, United States
|Notable works||Another Man's War|
|Notable awards||Mother Teresa Awards|
|Children||1 daughter, 1 son (deceased)|
Sam Childers (born 1963) is a former Outlaws member who now dedicates his life and resources to rescue children in the war zone of South Sudan. Childers and his wife Lynn founded and operate Angels of East Africa, the Children's Village Orphanage in Nimule, South Sudan, where they currently have more than 300 children in their care.
Sam Childers was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the son of Paul Childers, an ironworker and former Marine. Childers had two older brothers, Paul Jr. and George. He also had a sister, Donna, who died of a heart problem before she was a year old. While he was growing up, his parents moved the family from place to place, following construction projects.
In the spring of 1974, shortly before Childers turned 12, his family moved to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Going into seventh grade he discovered cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol and heroin, which led to many years of drug addiction, drug dealing, and alcoholism. Childers also developed a love for motorcycles and the lifestyle that led him to become a member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.
Childers married Jaszper, a stripper, before converting to Christianity, and had a daughter (Paige) and a son.
Childers converted to Christianity in mid-1992, with the help of his wife, during a revival meeting at an Assembly of God church. That same evening Childers' pastor allegedly prophesied that he would go to Africa. At the end of 1998, Childers made his first trip to Sudan. In that first trip and the many that followed, he was exposed to the acts of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which he described as atrocious. Not long after his first trip to Sudan, Childers and his wife Lynn founded the Angels of East Africa, the Children's Village in Southern Sudan. The Children’s Village currently houses and educates over 100 orphans, with over a thousand children rescued since its conception. The staff at the Children's Village are primarily Sudanese orphans and widows themselves.
Childers details the events of his life and his experiences in Africa in his book Another Man's War. The book bears the endorsement from South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, "The Reverend Sam Childers has been a very close friend to the government of South Sudan for many years and is a trusted friend."
In popular culture
In 2011, Relativity Media released a biopic about Childers entitled Machine Gun Preacher, which was based on Childers' book Another Man's War. The film was written by Jason Keller and directed by Marc Forster. The cast featured Gerard Butler in the title role, Michelle Monaghan as Childers' wife Lynn, and Michael Shannon as his best friend Donnie.
In 2014, a documentary with the same title was produced by Angels of East Africa. It was released in North America by Vision Films (USA).
Sam Childers has however not been without his share of controversies. Foreign Policy called out Childers for exaggerating the stories of rescue which would be nothing short of miracles. It pointed out that other aid workers will also be clubbed with the wild gun carrying Childers which hinders their work and endangers their lives. SPLA too has distanced itself from Childers as per the magazine though Childers claimed he was/is addressed as commander by SPLA units.
Another blogger/site went ahead to point out that the orphanages were poorly run and Childers hasn't visited the same in years. Vanity fair too pointed out that him taking the children to orphanage might be perceived as a bullying approach to doing his work.
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