Find Hope

I am the Machine Gun Preacher.

"I realize we are changing a nation."


He is called the Machine Gun Preacher. His mission; Save children in Sudan.

The guy from Dateline NBC said, “Are you this guy that people call the Machine Gun Preacher?” That’s what the villagers gave me, the name Machine Gun Preacher. So I said, “yeah, yeah, yeah.

I got a phone call from a lady in Hollywood. She said, “Sam, I want to tell you right now, your life is a Hollywood movie.” 

I started hunting at seven or eight years old. I was shooting squirrels, rabbits, and everything. I was raised in a family in the mountains of Pennsylvania. My dad was a Marine. On a Sunday after church, we would go out by the barn and spend hours and hours, sometimes all afternoon into the evening just shooting guns as a family. 

I was on a mission trip and we were in South Sudan. There was a lot of fighting and war going on. I heard that there was a village not far from us that was raided. I have always been the kind of person that I have got to go see. I went out and came across the body of a small child. In the movie Machine Gun Preacher, it showed a child that was blown up. It didn’t happen like that. What happened is that we went into a village that was already raided. All the Rebels were gone. It was the aftermath there. I remember I walked over. I could see something lying on the ground. I walked over to it and it was a small child. From the waist down was gone. I remember walking around that child. I kept saying to myself, “How can this happen in the world?” 

During those times there was no government. Good Rebels and bad Rebels. There was no government in South Sudan. You only had one choice; pick up a gun or I should say two choices; pick up a gun or go home. There was nothing else. I chose to stand and fight for the children. 

In Africa alone, every two minutes a child dies from malaria. We went deep into the bush. We would go in Land Cruisers. We would go up cow paths up to two hours, three hours deep into the bush where there are no villages. All that's there are mud huts. Sure enough, what did we find? Fresh graves everywhere. In four months, we saved nearly eight hundred children from malaria alone. I’m talking about children that were carried into us. Children that came in on mesh mats. Children that were shaking with fever. Children that were in convulsions. Children that were dying, would have died if we wouldn’t have brought the doctors and the medicine to them. Our feeding program is about eight thousand five hundred meals a day. A lot of people have known us for over a decade for drilling wells. 

I got a phone call. Some people hunted me down. It was the film director of Dateline NBC. They wanted to go into South Sudan to do this story on Joseph Kony. One of the heads of one of the Rebel groups said, “We can’t help you. But we know a preacher that can help you.” So, Dateline NBC got a hold of me to be their guide and take them around. The guy from Dateline NBC said, “Are you this guy that people call Machine Gun Preacher?” The villagers gave me the name “Machine Gun Preacher”. So, I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” They said, “Do you mind if we do a little bit of some interviews with you?” That’s what exposed me to the world. I didn’t realize they did thirty minutes on Joseph Kony and thirty minutes on the preacher hunting, Joseph Kony, down. So, they made it look like I was hunting him down. I never was hunting Joseph Kony. Joseph Kony was hunting me. 

I got a phone call from a lady in Hollywood. She said, “Sam, I want to tell you right now, your life is a Hollywood movie.” She’s the one that helped get the movie “Machine Gun Preacher” made. 

I was at a pre-Oscar party. Brad Pitt was there and George Clooney, when I came in the door. I rode up on my motorcycle out front and security just came running over. They said, “This is a private event, a private event, you can’t get in here unless your name’s on the list.” I said, “I think my name might be on the list.” They said, “What’s your name?” I said, “Machine Gun Preacher”. The guy looked at his buddy and said, “His name’s on the list.” They let me go in this pre-Oscar party or whatever it was called. As soon as I walked in the front door George Clooney hollered out, “Machine Gun Preacher!” I walked right over to him because I felt out of place. The only person that knew me there right away was George Clooney.

My God is bigger than anyone else. If you want to change a nation, first it’s Jesus Christ. Then it’s education. Then it’s teaching people a skill or a trade. Right now, our organization works with over five hundred people per day and I realize we are changing a nation.

Sam - I am the Machine Gun Preacher.

More Stories view all 488