Sam Childers’ story has been immortalized in his 2009 book “Another Man’s War,” and in the 2011 movie “Machine Gun Preacher.” But in the late 1990s, his story almost ended before it had properly begun when he was nearly killed in a brawl.

Childers earned the moniker that made him a brand when he began to lead armed missions to rescue kidnapped East African children from the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel militia that operates in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to Crosswalk Fellowship’s May news release. Tales of the mad missionary wielding a Bible in one hand and an AK-47 in the other circulated through villages and villagers began calling him “The Machine Gun Preacher.”

Childers will share his life story at 7 p.m. June 13 at Delavan High School at 907 Locust St., Delavan. Admission is free, but members of Crosswalk Fellowship church, which is sponsoring Childers’ visit, will take up a free-will offering to help fund Childers’ work in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. 

“I’ve wanted to hear him speak and thank him for the work he is doing in East Africa,” said Daric Rademaker, Crosswalk Fellowship event coordinator. “After a number of years of not being able to see him while he was on tour, I decided to contact his people and arranged for Sam to come to Delavan.”

The visit to Delavan is a one-day stop on a world tour that began in late March and has included speaking engagements throughout Europe and the United States. Future stops on his 2019 world tour will include Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  I

In addition to sharing his life story, Childers will speak about his work in Africa. Crosswalk Fellowship Pastor Steve Waggoner believes Childers’ story will challenge and inspire people who attend the event.

“His life has undergone an amazing transformation from drugs and gang violence to actively seeking justice for orphans in East Africa,” said Waggoner. “He will help us see both the depth of the needs around the world and the call we each have to make a difference.”

Today, Angels of East Africa operates one of the largest orphanages in southern Sudan, housing and feeding over 1,000 children since it was established in 1998, according to a May news release from Crosswalk Fellowship. The group prepares more than 12,000 meals a day and has drilled wells and built schools in Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.

“Sam’s life story is very unique,” said Rademaker. “(He) will explain just how one person can impact the lives of so many and make a difference.”

Machine Gun Preacher merchandise will be on sale at the event. Childers, a motorcycle enthusiast, will have several of his own motorcycles on display for the occasion. A drawing will be held for a chance to win one of his custom bikes. 

“(Inviting Childers) is my way of helping Sam and Angels of East Africa,” said Rademaker. “My heart breaks for the orphans, displaced families and hurting children of East Africa. Not everyone is able to travel to do mission work, but this is what I can do.”

For more information on Childers’ work, visit www.machinegunpreacher.org.