Message of hope and change
An ex-criminal and self-professed "scumbag of the earth" who is now helping save the lives of African children is spreading a message of hope in Southland and Otago.
Sam Childers, founder and president of Angels of East Africa, spoke about his life experiences at an Orphans Aid International event in Invercargill last night as part of his Australian and New Zealand tour.
He is the man behind the movie Machine Gun Preacher and author of Another Man's War.
Mr Childers said he wanted to give a message of hope and talk about his life change.
"I was a hired gun for drug deals. Every bad thing that you can think of, I was it - I was a scumbag of the earth."
After a shoot-out in Florida he decided to turn his life around.
He started going to church but said he was was not a "bible thumper".
In 1998, he went on a five-week trip to Sudan where he found a child killed by a land-mine, and has since been helping to save children in east Africa.
He has been involved in developing six orphanages throughout Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia, a large farm in Uganda, and has built a dormitory for children in Ethiopia and several schools, he said.
Mr Childers started touring New Zealand last week and after reading feedback online said he had changed 400 Kiwi lives after telling his story.
Orphans Aid International founder and chief executive Sue van Schreven said it was fantastic to secure such a well-renowned international speaker.
"I hope it will stir people's hearts and raise awareness, and [help people] understand that we can all be part of helping forgotten children in forgotten places," she said.
Mr Childers will speak at 7pm tonight at the City Impact Church in Frankton, Queenstown.
Cost: free but people are asked to bring a food item for the local food bank. Donations can also be made to the organisations.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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