Remembering Mike Riddering

Mike Riddering - Image Via Hollywood Community Church
Mike Riddering – Image Via Hollywood Community Church

 

It was just one week ago that missionary Mike Riddering left Les Ailes de Refuge Orphanage to travel to the capital of Burkina Faso to meet up with a visiting short term team. He was first having a meeting with a local pastor at the Cappuccino Café.

When we lived in Nairobi, Java House was where missionaries coming in from the bush would indulge in good coffee–their office in the city.

It’s easy for me to imagine… walking past sidewalk café tables, finding a seat near a businessman working on his Mac, waving at the waitress who knows that I like an extra large water with my latte.

I remember Hubby scanning the seating, looking for anything suspicious, choosing a seat away from the entrance, scoping out an escape route if necessary.  It wasn’t just his former Army hyper-vigilance kicking in — Nairobi is rated “critical crime, critical terrorism,” and the Westgate Mall terrorist attack sadly proved that valid.

Though Kenya has seen quite a bit of violence from Islamic terrorists, it seems like Burkina Faso was caught off guard by the attack from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).   Mike and Pastor Valentin wouldn’t have been scanning the crowd, wouldn’t have prepped their families on emergency protocols in case of attacks.

This has hit close to home to me, even though I didn’t know Mike and Amy Riddering.  I have been mourning for them. Praying for their four children. Imagining the shock of their community of orphans and vulnerable people with whom they work in Yako. What does the future hold?

Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes are often considered the first Evangelical martyrs, burned at the stake in 1523.  When he heard of their deaths for the cause of Christ, Martin Luther wrote what was possibly his first hymn.

Flung to the heedless winds,
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs’ ashes, watched,
Shall gathered be at last.

And from that scattered dust,
Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed,
Of witnesses for God.

The Father hath received,
Their latest living breath,
And vain is Satan’s boast,
Of victory in their death.

Still, still, though dead, they speak,
And, trumpet tongued, proclaim,
To many a wakening land,
The one availing name.

 

I mourn the death of Mike and other Christians around the world, yet I maintain hope that “vain is Satan’s boast of victory in their death.”  

Jesus was crucified — yet he rose again.  In Him, we have life and will have life even after death. His Gospel of grace is truly good news, and continues to be carried around the world.

Please pray for the Riddering family–the immediate family, their orphanage community, and their church home.

Please pray for missionaries around the world who are serving in sensitive locations.

Please pray we each are ready to show God’s love where we are.

 

If you want to give to support Amy Riddering and their children, you can donate to the Michael Riddering Memorial Fund.  The memorial service will be held February 6, at Hollywood Community Church, Florida.