STAR QUALITY: Machine Gun Preacher Sam Childers, with actor Gerard Butler, who played him in the film.
STAR QUALITY: Machine Gun Preacher Sam Childers, with actor Gerard Butler, who played him in the film. Contributed

PODCAST: Machine Gun Preacher says film was 'not accurate'

MILLIONS of people have seen the Hollywood blockbuster film that depicts Sam Childers' life.

Known as the Machine Gun Preacher, Childers left behind a life of drugs and crime to help thousands of children in war-torn South Sudan.

He is now in Australia speaking to packed churches about his life.

See Sam Childers at New Horizons Church, Murgon from 7pm on Monday, September 9.

LISTEN: Get the full interview with Sam Childers here:

Matt Collins:

Tell me about the coffee in Africa.

 

Sam Childers:

Well, everyone thinks they have the best coffee around the world, but they say some of the best coffee in the world comes out of Ethiopia. The most expensive beans in the world comes from elephant waste. They let the elephants eat the coffee beans.

 

MC:

I read somewhere you came from a "scum of the earth" type life. Would that be a fair thing to say about your upbringing?

 

SC:

No, I was raised in a born-again Christian family. A middle-class family, mum and dad had a little bit of money. I allowed myself to become the scum of the earth. When I was young I was born into the best family you could ever have been born into. I had no reason to go to drugs and alcohol.

 

MC:

So when did things start to go awry?

 

SC:

At 11 years old, I thought I wanted to fit in with the older crowd. I wanted to be popular in school, so I was smoking cigarettes, smoking marijuana, experimenting with alcohol. By the time I was 13 or 14 I was experimenting with every sort of drug I could. And by 15 I was putting a needle in my arm.

 

MC:

Obviously you had good parents, did they try to intervene at any point?

 

SC:

Yes, they did. My dad was a real tough guy, but you got to remember, when I was 15 years old I had the work ethic and the mindset of an 18 or 19-year-old. I looked older too. So, finally my dad came to me and said, "boy, I know what you're doing. You have got to make a choice. You can either stay in this house without drugs, or you've got to leave". I left before my 16th birthday. A lot of Christian people think my dad was wrong, I think it was the best thing.

 

MC:

You became a powerful figure in the criminal world. Just how deep did you get into that world?

 

SC:

Well, I started selling a lot of drugs. I was trafficking hundreds of thousands worth of drugs. Before I knew it, I was a first-class thug and criminal. Until I was in my 20s and I was involved in a bar room fight. It was the worst fight I was ever in in my life. People were stabbed and shot. That night, I saw people on the ground crying and I knew that night, something was going to kill me. So I made up my mind, that if I make it to that door, I am done living this life.

 

MC:

Did you have a plan for you life at that point?

 

SC:

There was no plan. All I knew was that I needed to move and I needed to find new friends, so that's exactly what I did.

 

MC:

And that's when the idea of going to Africa came about?

 

SC:

Yeah, my wife had started to go to church. For about two years she kept asking me to go with her.

 

MC:

Why wouldn't you go?

 

SC:

Because in my mind I thought I don't need him.

 

MC:

But you finally went?

 

SC:

Yeah. She would ask me every weekend for two years and I finally went. I knew the preacher's message was for me. I just knew. He gave an alter call and I couldn't even stand up. He said to me, "the power of God is all over you". And at that point I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I went back the next night for another meeting. He started telling me what I was going to do, where I was going to go. He started telling me, "you are going to go to Africa". I knew that it was the calling for my life.

 

MC:

That is a little different from how the movie plays out.

 

SC:

The first movie is not very accurate. There is a part two getting ready to go into production. Part two is way more accurate because we had our hands on the script.

 

MC:

How did you feel about first going to Africa?

 

SC:

I thought I would just go over there, I am going to get this over and done with and then I am going to come home. I didn't realise when I got over there that God was going to set me up. God will put opportunities in front of us, and the decisions we make when the door is open is going to determine our destination in life.

 

MC:

There was a moment when you found a young child that really stuck with you.

 

SC:

Yeah, I came across the body of a young child. I remember walking around it and there was no legs, nothing from the waist down. I was crying and I said, "God how can this happen?" And in that moment, I said, "God, I will do whatever it takes to help these people". At that time, I knew my whole life had changed.

 

MC:

Was there any time you were genuinely scared?

 

SC:

To be honest with you, I never really did fear for my life. I got scared a few times, but I was never afraid of dying. I will say though, I was never around for my daughter. I was always off saving some other kid. I knew she was getting ready to be married and I got into a really bad scuffle in the bush. A shootout. I remember lying on the ground crying and I said to God, "just let me get home to walk my daughter down the aisle". That was the only time I asked God to help me get out of there.

 

MC:

Tell me how you feel about those African kids.

 

SC:

Once we got them out of the war zone, I started thinking what can we do for them now. We have built seven schools and we have built five orphanages. We are feeding over 13,000 meals a day. We are training young people in a skill and a trade. We are changing a nation.

LISTEN: Get the full interview with Sam Childers here:

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