New motorcycle shop supports Machine Gun Preacher's mission
By SANDY WOJCIK
A new store with a unique product is opening its doors on Saturday.
Sam Childers, better known as the Machine Gun Preacher, will open a cycle shop, which will also be the hub of much of his mission work.
Located along Route 30 near Reels Corner, just a few miles from the church where Childers preaches, Shekinah Fellowship Church, the new shop will house offices for the Angels of East Africa along with all things motorcycle, including motorcycles known as rat bikes.
Childers purchased the former motorcycle store and shop about eight months ago.
“We needed to get another building for the offices,” he said. “We have three full-time people, so our office work has expanded so much that we needed to get another building. At the same time all this was happening we started to build what we call rat bikes, which has our brand on it, MGP (Machine Gun Preacher).”
Childers said it just happened to fall into place.
“It is a building big enough for the showroom for the bikes, a place for our leather and big enough for bike building as well as office space for the Angels of East Africa,” he said.
The building comes with between four and five acres, which could be used to expand.
“We will always have bikes on display and sell leathers, helmets, anything to do with biking,” he said. “Our bike shop will do oil changes, inspections and repairs.”
Two of the motorcycles on display are slated to appear in a movie about Childers’ life called “Machine Gun Preacher.” The movie stars Gerard Butler of “300” fame and will be released either in September or October.
“The one bike Gerard Butler rode is sitting right over there,” he said. “That is the one that will be shown on all the trailers of the movie and on the billboards. It will be on display here for the next six to eight months.”
Childers said he started to build the rat bikes as a hobby, but because of the MGP brand, they have become more popular.
“Most of the bikes we sold have been to people on the West Coast, but we also have orders in this area too,” he said.
Another work in progress for Childers is a new reality television series that will be shot at the new office/bike shop.
“It is a reality TV show that has been sold to a network, but I can’t mention their names because a contract has not been signed as of yet,” he said. “We have already shot three pieces, which you can see on YouTube.”
He said the show would revolve around his touring the United States and his work at bike building.
“The big thing is, every bike we sell, we will drill a (water) well in Africa, between Sudan and Darfur,” he said. “Our goal is right now to buy a well drilling rig. There are over 6,000 children dying per month from starvation, disease and war crimes. Children are dying from no water or bad water. I’m hoping by the first of the year to have our own rig and drill wells.”
He said he realizes it is a big task, but added, “God does big work.”
“For me to do it or any kind of person to do it, it is kind of hard, unless you let God lead the way,” he said. “He makes it easy.”
Childers started his own mission work after visiting Africa 14 years ago on a mission trip.
“I saw the body of a child who stepped on a land mine and it just changed everything in my life,” he said. “That is when I started rescuing children in Sudan.”
His work has expanded in Africa.
“I have one of the largest working orphanages in Sudan and two bases in Uganda, homes where we have children,” he said. “We have 15 to 20 children at each home. We started a feeding program for the children in Darfur. In South Sudan we have our own primary school and nursery school and library on the compound. We serve over 6,000 meals a day. Our goal is to be able to feed 10,000 meals a day.”
Doing all this takes money, which Childers raises by “going around preaching.” He recently returned from trips to Texas and Florida and will be leaving again on Monday.
“I also speak all across America to high schools and colleges. I do not charge to speak in high schools and I do not preach. I only talk about the dangers of drugs and alcohol,” he said.
“When all this started I started with nothing and God is the one who led the brand. As the brand keeps getting bigger, the nonprofit can keep feeding off the brand, MGP. It is something that may only last two or three years or it may last 10 years. I’m not sure, but I’m here to ride the thing out.”
The motorcycle shop’s grand opening celebration will include lunch from noon to 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend.