It’s been over three years since American missionary Michael Riddering was among dozens of Christians killed by al-Qaeda in West Africa. But today, his ministry to the orphaned and poor there continues with national partners and the help of his family.
In 2011, Riddering, along with his wife, sold all their possessions in the U.S. to run an orphanage and women’s crisis center in West Africa operated by an American mission group called Sheltering Wings in West Africa. He was killed when gunmen opened fire on a coffee shop just minutes after Riddering arrived in January 2016.
Riddering was driving a ministry van on his way to pick up a group of about 15 missionaries at the airport. But since their flight was late, he decided to get some coffee. Minutes after arriving at the cafe, the attack began and 28 people were killed.
“One of the things that my brother said is that if God is for you, who can be against you,” Jeff Riddering, the pastor of Gateway House of Prayer in Sunset Hills, Missouri, said. He paraphrased Philippians 1:21, which states: “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
The organization Riddering worked with, Sheltering Wings, partners with churches by sending missionaries to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed to the world.
The orphanage serves hundreds of children. But Sheltering Wings helps educate over 1,000 children through its $35 per-month sponsorship program.
The program provides children with school fees, supplies, daily meals at school or semi-annual food and goods distribution as well as basic medical care.
A total of 468 children are given a free education at Sheltering Wings Christian School, while other sponsored children go to public schools and have their education paid for by their sponsors.
According to Sheltering Wings, sponsoring a child is a tangible way to show God’s love to a child in need as sponsorships reach the vulnerable children by giving them the opportunity to be educated, learn about God’s love, and to grow up healthy, all things that are critical in helping children escape extreme poverty.
“[Sheltering Wings sponsorship programs] make it so [the children] don’t become a burden to their extended family but even a blessing,” Jeff Riddering explained. “People have the entire courtyard with food and different things like that. It becomes a blessing and almost an honor to be a sponsored child in the courtyard because Sheltering Wings comes in every month. Because of that child, they bless the entire courtyard.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith