Local artist teaming up with Hollywood

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Sam Childers, known as the "The Machine Gun Preacher," poses with a portait painted by Greencastle artist Nicole Troup.

Portrait artist Nicole Troup of Greencastle is teaming up with Hollywood for a red carpet event to raise funds and awareness for children rescued from war in East Africa.

Troup is coordinating the charity event in New York City on Nov. 4 with production company Starbaby Enterprises.

The Angels of East Africa Gala will feature the AOEA founder Sam Childers, also known as the Machine Gun Preacher, and oscar-nominee Michael Shannon, who starred in the movie "The Machine Gun Preacher."

About Sam Childers

Childers has been influential in the South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopian regions for many years.

However, in his early years, despite growing up in a good and loving family, he fell into the depths of drug dealing and violence. Growing weary from his destructive way of life, he began to seek God after going to church with his wife. He left behind a life of drugs and crime, and set up a hardscrabble church in rural Pennsylvania then used his meager savings to take his first missionary trip to Africa.

He ended up in South Sudan, which was in the midst of the Second Sudanese War, and stumbled across the body of a child torn apart by a land mine. Childers fell to his knees in devastation and vowed to God that he would do whatever it took to help the people of South Sudan. 

 He built an orphanage in South Sudan and then began to lead armed missions into the bush to rescue children from the Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal rebel militia that kidnapped 30,000 children and murdered hundreds of thousands of villagers, according to Troup.

It wasn’t long after until tales of his rescue missions began to spread and villagers began calling him “The Machine Gun Preacher." His story was turned into the 2011 Hollywood movie, "The Machine Gun Preacher” starring Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan.

About Nicole Troupe

“I grew up a missionary kid. I saw a lot of poverty, victims of gangs and other traumatic issues,” Troup said in an interview earlier this year. “I went on a mission trip about a year and a half ago in Africa and worked at an orphanage and some of the kids there had been sexually abused or kidnapped. I think it is just such a heinous crime, especially on kids. I just want my art to raise awareness for that, as well as some other worldly issues.

“I love for my art to have some kind of meaning and make an impact on people. I like them to be conversation starters,” explained Troup.

Troup painted a portrait showcasing a woman named Charmaine, who was a victim of sex trafficking in the Philippines. It toured the country as part of “The Faces of Freedom,” sponsored by a ministry called the Freedom 58 Project.

The art teacher for Montessori Academy of Chambersburg, she has painted portraits of doctors, Summit Health's former CEO Norman Epstein, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, WWE superstar Titus O'Neil and Childers, the Machine Gun Preacher.

An autographed portrait of Childers as well as artwork by the children will be auctioned off at the gala.

Troup presented the portrait to Childers at a photoshoot in New York, which is where she met Shannon.

"Michael is a great guy, patient, down-to-earth and we had a great conversation about the event and helping Sam," said Troup, who also met Hollywood stylist Phillip Bloch who styles the celebrities for the Oscars.

Shannon will be performing with his band at the gala and Childers will be giving testimony about his life journey. Troup is also in the process of doing a painting of Shannon that he will autograph for the auction.

"It's so great to see people come together for a beautiful cause," Troup said.

For more information, email nfntroup6@gmail.com or visit www.angelsofeastafricagala.splashthat.com.