“Sheltering Wings partners with churches by sending missionaries to take the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed to the world…”
Prior to working in West Africa, I served in China for seven years. Since April of 2000, I have served in West Africa. By and with the grace of God, I pioneered the work Sheltering Wings is currently doing in West Africa. Starting with an orphanage in 2002, we later expanded and built a primary and secondary school, along with a clinic to serve the Sheltering Wings orphanage and school children. In an effort to meet the ongoing needs of these children, we developed a sponsorship program which has grown to include widows as well.
Sensing a call to pioneer a new area, the reigns of this ministry were handed over to Mike and Amy Riddering in 2013.Since then, Linda Wilk and I have begun a new area of ministry in a small village in Southern Burkina. Our village is remote with no running water or electricity and the Lord has greatly blessed us. Our primary goal is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ while meeting the needs of the village through the construction of a community medical center, drilling wells, church planting, an infant milk program, and a child and widow’s sponsorship program.
After working with juvenile offenders in St. Louis, Missouri for several years, I became involved in a street ministry for children there in the inner city for an additional eight years. In 2000, I heard and responded to God’s called to “Go” into the mission field in Africa. In 2002, I spent six months in an orphanage in Kenya and then went on to visit Iris Ministries in Maputo, Mozambique. Inspired by the love of Christ shared in this place, I attended Iris Ministries School of Missions in Pemba, Mozambique in 2004. Thereafter, I entered the mission field full-time and worked in South Africa for three years with Iris Ministries, through Sheltering Wings. In 2011, I returned to Kenya and started projects to assist street and other vulnerable children in Nairobi. These projects in Nairobi, Kenya now come together through a Center located on the outskirts of a slum. Through the Center, we are able to provide a feeding program and shelter for street children. A sponsorship program helps to send street children to school and helps to support a church and a puppet/drama/dance outreach team.
Sheltering Wings Kenya rescues and rehabilitates street children and disciples them for Christ. We first interact with street children through a twice per week feeding program, where the children receive the Word of God, food, medical care, haircuts, the opportunity to bathe and wash their clothes, as well as new clothes. A social worker then researches their family background and when the family is contacted, counseling and prayer are given in hopes of healing and restoring the family. Children who can’t be reconciled to their families may stay at the shelter at our Center and through sponsorship, attend school.
We currently have 11 former street children enrolled in school, 4 living at the shelter and 9 who have been reunited with their families, and current
street children are in the process of possibly reuniting with their families or coming to live at the shelter.
Evangelism is also a large part of our ministry in Kenya which is done primarily through puppet/drama/dance outreaches throughout the country. Our Center is located at the edge of the Kibera slum, the largest slum in Africa, where we can strategically reach out to the very poor and other religious groups concentrated in the area. We have church at the Center on Sundays providing a place for street children and others in the community to come and worship God.
Janet and I arrived in West Africa in 2013 on a mission to support Bible translation. We found our home in a very poor section of a large city. Working on translations in the midst of poverty, it did not take long for us to encounter the overwhelming needs of the people with whom we had come to live among. After finding a neighbor with a gravely underfed baby boy we soon found ourselves managing an infant nutrition program for children near and, in a very short time thereafter, far from our new home. Confronted, at first children and then adults, with little or no reserves during extended cuts in water service we began distributing packaged water and ice to those thirsting through long days of 100+ degree temperatures. Happening upon gaunt women with tiny babies, we began distributing small packages of rice and beans to supplement meager meals. We continue to work to share the love of Jesus with those who need Bibles, host Sunday school for neighborhood children, many of whom are Muslim, and bring joy to children by providing soccer balls, kites, and opportunities to laugh.
After meeting a few Sheltering Wings missionaries, we soon heard the Lord’s call to leave our administrative positions and work full-time sharing the love of Christ and His Good News with the least of these. For more information on how you can support our this project, check out our blog.
In 2011 we saw God’s story of redemption in the life our son, whom we adopted from West Africa. God acted as both a warrior ready to battle for the least of these and a shepherd gently leading his sheep. As we daily watched the love of a family transform our son in body, heart, and mind, we longed to see God do this for other vulnerable children. We joined our Lord serving the orphaned and vulnerable in West Africa in 2013.
Our ministry began in a city in West Africa, where the local church and the government agency over orphans worked with us to raise up Host Families in order to address the needs of vulnerable children under the age of 7. Learning our way into orphan care, we discovered an overwhelming majority of the cases didn’t need to be placed in our Host Families, but only needed the resources to keep the baby alive after losing the mother. Because extended families are strong in West Africa, our Formula Distribution program was birthed and now meets ninety percent of the needs that come to us. For the children who truly do not have anywhere to go, we have five Host Families (similar to US foster families) ready to bring these children into their Christian homes and love them as their own. We’ve also added educational programs on the local Christian radio station to foster the idea throughout the region that all children are a blessing from the LORD.
In 2016, Philip took on the additional roles of Missionary Coordinator and Security Watchman for Sheltering Wings. In these positions he assists short and long-term missionaries in their preparation for joining the work and seeks to understand the security environment of the countries in which we work.
In December of 2011 I moved to West Africa with my husband Mike and my daughter Delaney. Bringing just two suitcases a piece we left the U.S. and boarded a plane which brought us to our new home. With no agenda other than loving others and sharing the hope we had in Jesus Christ, we were excited to join the work that God was already doing with orphans and widows.
Ours is a story of obedience and the willingness to do the things Christ called us to do and not just to do good things for Christ. We wanted to move from being committed Christians to submitted Christians. Never in our wildest dreams did we think the journey God would bring us on was becoming missionaries in a foreign land with a new culture and a new language. As Mike would say, it was a mystery as to why God would bring a boat builder to the desert.
We used the two years that followed to build relationships, learn language and culture and pour love out to the children, widows and pastors we worked with. We took in responsibilities at the orphanage and with the sponsorship program and learned all that we could about the medical clinic and school as we worked alongside Ruth Cox.
In 2014, Ruth passed directorship of the orphanage over to us as she followed God’s call to minister to a village in the western part of the country. Over the next two years we listened as God led us to start a Women’s Crisis Center to train and equip women is distress. These young widows, women who have been abandoned or abused and handicapped women with no family support are given a safe place to live and receive love while they learn numerous skills to help them care for themselves and their children. We also started an experimental agriculture project to find solutions to extend the very short growing season with systems like aquaponics, hydroponics and aeroponics. Our goal is to develop systems by inviting University students studying agriculture and engineering to develop systems that use local, recycled materials and then train evangelism teams from the local church how to build and maintain them. In this way we can bring the gospel into villages that would normally lock out Christians while meeting a physical need.
I cannot explain in words the amazing grace that God has bestowed on me and the tremendous joy he has placed in my heart for the ministries here. God placed the right people by my side and I am blessed to have the most loving and supportive team of both national and international workers. I am delighted to see the passion he has placed in the hearts of our team and the vision he continues to give us for future ministry.
In June of 2015, I had the opportunity to return once again to the land that stole my heart 12 years prior, West Africa. On this trip, I was seeking closure as I thought my long-term commitment to West Africa was finished. However, the Lord had a different plan. On the last day of my trip, Mike Riddering took me to see their latest endeavor, an agricultural research project. Mike and his wife, Amy, initiated construction in a village where they hoped engineering and agriculture students would come and work to discover alternative food and growing resources. It was birthed in hopes of curbing malnutrition and spreading the gospel of God’s hope and faithful love!
I knew the importance and potential of the Riddering’s dream because three years prior, I worked on my masters’ thesis on malnutrition programs in West Africa. I did not know it that the time, but the Lord was actually cultivating a desire to study malnutrition solutions as well as equipping me to come and work alongside this program as director and recruiter for the project. I recruit, coordinate and oversee the needs of the students and faculty in both the United States and West Africa. I am confident that this project will not only transform lives, but also bring hope where it was once lost. I know that this is not an easy or quick task, but I also know that this project is what the Lord has created me to do.
We will need brilliant, creative minds for successful, life-changing outcomes, students….WE WANT YOU!!! Please contact me about questions or ideas that you may have.
We began visiting West Africa in 2012 on short term mission trips through our church. We felt God calling us to full time mission work since that time. We met Mike and Amy in 2013 and we fell in love with the vision and work of Sheltering Wings and what they were accomplishing. From that moment forward we knew exactly where God was calling us and who to partner with. We have been back to West Africa yearly, leading teams from our church. God has been working in our lives, molding us for full time ministry. We have prayed for His timing and He has opened the doors. Our children visited West Africa in 2017 and fell in love with the people and the mission work, solidifying God’s calling for our family. Our vision is to host short term mission teams as they experience all the ministry opportunities; Women’s Crisis Center, Medical Clinics, Street boys ministry, Widow care, milk program for babies and their mother’s in need, and many more ministries that will come. We pray as we take steps of faith that you will partner with us as we follow God’s leading. We plan, with God’s help, to be on the ground in West Africa in 2019. We are humbled to be called to this amazing country that we love so much.
Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
I am a missionary called to minister to the people of God in West Africa. Following a 42 year career in education, I felt called to begin a new a phase of service, leading me to join Sheltering Wings ministry in 2013. Serving alongside Ruth Cox, we work to improve the lives of orphans and other vulnerable children and widows in a remote village that has no electricity or running water. Our current work includes sponsorship programs for children and widows and a milk program for at-risk babies.
Additionally, we have constructed a medical clinic, maternity building and local church. Clean, safe water has been brought to the village through the drilling of three working wells. The gentle people of West Africa have left an imprint on my heart that can never be washed away. I have been placed in a unique position to walk beside God’s children in West Africa and for this, I feel immeasurably blessed. If you would like to join us in sharing the love of Christ with these children please donate below.
In 2013, I was finishing college with a degree in Biblical Studies and Counseling. I knew that my end goal was to become a counselor for children and parents going through the adoption process. I started talking with a friend of mine about learning about the other side of the process, the orphanage, because I thought that I needed to know about their lives before to help them process life with a new family and culture.
God, of course, knew my plans and how he could shape them into his own perfect ones. After graduation, my friend and I came for a long internship. I was to stay for just one year. I haven’t left yet.
Through Mike and Amy Riddering’s encouragement, I prayerfully decided to stay on and become the manager for the guesthouse.
Through the last few years, my responsibilities have grown and now include working with the sponsorship program in West Africa and helping with the adoption process for children in the orphanage. It is my hope that God will grant me the grace to continue to do this work to draw others to Him and to, ultimately, glorify his Name.
I am an American missionary living in Turkey since 1997. In 2005, I was appointed as an elder with a local church in the city of Izmir. My primary ministry is pastoral discipleship with Turks who have come out of Islam and put their faith in the Lord Jesus. Our goal is to see each believer become mature and well-equipped to serve both in the church and in the local community. I am part of a church-planting team. In addition to the church, where I help lead, we currently have four other churches or church-plant initiatives in the west coast region of Turkey.
How can you get involved?
* Prayer and financial support.
* Come and see! We would be happy for you to visit us!
* Come and join us! Is God calling you to missions? There are many opportunities in Turkey. The harvest is truly ripe, but the laborers are few.
(Please note that for security reasons I have not included my name on this website. But don’t let that discourage you from writing to us. If you are interested in this ministry I would be happy to hear from you! We just need for the home staff to screen inquiries.)