Memorial service Saturday for humanitarian killed in terror attack

Michael Riddering killed in Burkina Faso


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A memorial service will be held Saturday for a man who was killed in Burkina Faso when al-Qaeda terrorists attacked a café and nearby luxury hotel.

Michael Riddering's passion and desire to help others was undeniable. A memorial service honoring his life will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hollywood Community Church, at 1708 North 60th Avenue in Hollywood.

His death hit the missionary's congregation back home hard.

"While here, Mike did everything from cutting the grass to serving as one of our elders, and I state that because Mike had a heart and he was willing to do anything. There was no job too small for Mike," Hollywood Community Church Sr. Pastor Brian Burkholder said.

Missionary work, running shelters, starting an orphanage, school and opening a crisis center for women are all things Riddering accomplished during his time in Burkino Faso.

The Cooper City native moved his wife, Amy, and two children there in 2011, but Riddering was having coffee at a café when terrorists attacked, killing 28 people.

The 45-year-old was expecting a volunteer group coming over from Pembroke Pines.

"They were about 1,500 feet from landing when there was word of the terrorist attack in the capital city of Burkina Faso and the pilot pulled up, so they never landed in Burkina Faso," West Pines Community Church Pastor Robey Barnes said.

Riddering's wife was left coping with his death while his missionary work in a poverty-stricken nation thousands of miles away lives on, leaving a long lasting impression back home.

"We feel that Mike was a modern day martyr who lost his life doing the work of Jesus," Burkholder said.

The service will take place at the church beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. Doors will open at noon. The public is invited to the event. Those looking to attend can RSVP online or show up, organizers of the event said.

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