Mission workers found among the dead in Burkina Faso

By January 20, 2016
(Photo Mike Riddering courtesy Sheltering Wings)

(Photo Mike Riddering courtesy Sheltering Wings)

Burkina Faso (MNN) — Burkina Faso ends three days of national mourning today.

The president said security would be stepped up in the capital and the country’s borders after Islamic militants killed at least 28 people last week. The group, calling itself al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), mounted its attack at the upscale Splendid Hotel in downtown Ouagadougou, specifically because the area is popular with foreigners.

World Watch Monitor (WWM) noted in an earlier report that the AQIM called the attack “a new message from the heroic champions of Islam, with their blood and their bodies, to the slaves of the cross, the occupiers of our homes, the looters of our wealth, and who would undermine our security.” They’re based in the Sahara Desert between Mali, Niger, and Algeria. This was their first attack in Burkina Faso.

Six of those who died were from Canada, on a mission trip, while a seventh was a U.S. missionary. According to Brietbart and WWM, the seventh victim was 45-year-old Michael Riddering, a native of Florida. He was in Ouagadougou with Pastor Valentin, his Burkinabe associate, to pick up a team of missionaries visiting from a church in Florida. They were early, so they stopped by the Cappuccino Cafe to wait.

Not long after they arrived, AQIM launched the attack, beginning with the café. Valentin called Amy to ask her to pray urgently, but the line went dead before he finished what he was saying. Valentin was eventually found and rescued by security forces. Mike was found in a morgue 24 hours later.

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

Under the auspices of Sheltering Wings, Riddering and his wife, Amy, have run the Les Ailes de Refuge orphanage in Yako since 2011. The Ridderings and their team care for about 400 orphaned children, provide direct assistance to disenfranchised widows, and help direct the operations of schools. Funding for these programs comes from the generous support of people of good will that sponsor children and donate funds to carry out the work. During the recent Ebola crisis, Mike made it a point to comfort families and dig graves.

Sheltering Wings is dedicated to impacting the world for Jesus Christ. Everything the Ridderings accomplished under that commission comes under this statement found on the Sheltering Wings website: “Jesus gave His life for us, so we seek to give our lives back to Him.”

In the days following her husband’s death, the community the Ridderings served has come around Amy and are mourning with her. She posted on her Facebook page her struggle to come to grips with what happened, her love for Mike, and her hope in Christ. That came through yesterday, when amid her grief she posted this: “One of our ladies as the Women’s Center gave birth two days ago. She [SIC] wated me to name her child. Her name is Chantal Relwende. ‘Relwende’ is Moore and means ‘Lean on God.’”

Riddering is survived by his wife, two adult daughters, Hayley and Delaney, in the U.S. and his adopted children, Biba and Moise.


  • Dee Gregory says:

    Thankful to know this beloved man of God; such a glorious example to us of 2 Cor. 5:15. We know he’s now honored before the throne of God, as he honored The Lamb here on earth. Revelation 6:9 sees him there! Praying for his precious family.

  • I am sorry for these victims who paid with their lives for their service of love to the Lord and to needy refugees in Burkina. But I know they have been received with great love and honor by the Lord

  • OLELE MOSE says:

    Dear Amy
    We are praying for your loss and may the God of all comfort give you abundant peace and joy. knowing well, his death is gain to Jesus who died on the cross for our lives. Precious is the death of the saint before the Lord. I believe the Lord is telling him “good and faith full servant servant welcome to my father’s Joy”

    The. Lord strengthens and shines on you and may He pour sufficient grace on you as never before.

    Pr. Moses.

    Uganda African.

  • john bibler says:

    No greater love is shown than lay down your life for the Gospels. May God’s peace be with you and your family

  • Praying God’s comforting presence with you Amy and your two daughters and the children who are with you. Certainly Mike did not die in vain. There will be many others raised up willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the Cross of Christ. Still, I know your hearts are aching for your loss. Keep looking up – our redemption draweth near when we will all be together in glory with your husband and all who have gone before us. “In the sweet bye and bye we shall meet on that beautiful shore. Betty (and Bill) Thompson, SIM retirees from ELWA Radio in Liberia.

  • Linda Popiel says:

    So very sorry. Praying for Amy and the family, may the Lord comfort you and bring good from this evil. My heart goes out to you all.

  • “On this unhappy day Jesus called him away, up high above the sky, where he will live and never die. Hold on to this key, as he crosses over death’s sea: his pain will all be gone, and he will have a brand new song to sing!” As will you before the women of your mission. You are in our prayers.

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