“Sheltering Wings partners with churches by sending missionaries to take the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed to the world…”
Learn more about each missionary
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 West Africa. 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, and child and widow’s sponsorship programs.
Don and Janet Guizzetti
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 this project, check out our blog.
Philip and Sara Matheny
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 Ministry 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 six Christian Host Families (similar to US foster families) ready to bring these children into their homes and care for 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 2018, our family transitioned Stateside, where Philip works as the Missions Director for Sheltering Wings while continuing the work with our national ministry team in Africa.
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 women included young widows who have been abandon 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 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 on responsibilities at the orphanage including the sponsorship program and learned all that we could about the medical clinic and school as we worked alongside Ruth Cox.
In 2004, I had my first experience in West Africa; volunteering with Ruth Cox. My heart was captured by the people! After many years and many visits, in 2016 I was honored to officially join the Sheltering Wings family working with agriculture and food insecurity.
In 2017, my focus shifted from agriculture to one small baby named Wendpouiré Ouedraogo. He was in our orphanage, very sick and dying. He needed one-on-one care. I became his caretaker and momma for the next 10 months. In February of 2018, he left this world to be with Jesus. This little one showed me the need for advocacy for sick and terminally ill children. The Wendpouiré Project was born!
We love supporting children with special needs and their families! We are not only committed to helping alleviate the massive medical burden from these families, but the Wendpouiré Project also endeavors to lift their emotional and societal burden. Many in these communities believe these children to be a mistake or even a curse upon the family. We believe them to be a gift created and loved by God.
We hope that the Wendpouiré Project will not only transform lives, but also bring hope where it was once lost. While neither are easy or quick tasks, I know that “it matters to the ONE”.
The Tipton Family
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 are happy to have started our ministry on the ground in West Africa in 2020.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 phase of service,which lead me to join Sheltering Wings in 2013. Serving beside Ruth Cox, I work to improve the lives of widows, orphans and other vulnerable children in several remote villages in West Africa. Our current work includes sponsorship programs for children and widows, church construction and well drilling. In addition to this we have also constructed a medical clinic, maternity building and secondary school. Through word and deed we strive to bring the gospel of Jesus to all those we have been privileged to serve.
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 immensely blessed!
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. 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. I have also recently begun partnering with another ministry in teaching English as a Foreign Language and working with the children in the missionary community. 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.
House of Samuel
At a very young age the Lord put it on my heart to start a children's home in south east Asia. Four years ago at the age 19 I packed my bag and moved overseas to see this God given dream become a reality. Since that time I have been working with locals to run the children's home. My future hope is to grow and expand our ministry and to keep serving the Lord faithfully. I'm passionate about mission and seeing the growth and development of children through the love and care provided for them in our home. It's been incredible to see how the Lord has turned this dream in a reality
Tony & Isabelle Covarrubias
Isabelle, our two children, Graciella, Jakim and I (Tony) moved to West Africa on November of 2019. Both Isabelle and I had great careers and a wonderful church community in Omaha Nebraska but for many years God had put in our hearts to move to West Africa. We had been contemplating the idea of moving to West Africa for a long time until one day in September of 2019, out of nowhere the Lord made it clear to us that it was time to move because he had some work for us there. We then quit our jobs, shipped our belongings to Africa, put our house up for rent and left for the field.
When we arrived in West Africa we did not know exactly why the Lord had called us there. We kept praying and asking God for guidance, and to show us why. One day we got introduced to Don and Janet. I remember we met Don at a restaurant and as he was explaining to us their ministry in Oasis of Hope, feeding malnourished babies, helping sick babies with their medical needs, and helping women get trained in self-employment skills, that really spoke to us. We knew then, that that was the reason why God called us there. When we then started volunteering at Oasis and we saw firsthand what the Lord was doing, it was confirmation for us to consider becoming missionaries with Sheltering Wings. We are thrilled to work alongside Don and Janet at the Oasis of Hope to continue to be a blessing to the people there.
I first went to the Middle East in 2010 just after graduating college. What started as a year-long student ministry internship became 7 years of long-term ministry. After a season back in the US, I am excited to return to the Middle East to serve at a local church. I will be active in evangelism and discipleship, while also serving the church through administration and operational support. There is a real spiritual hunger and openness in the hearts of the people in this country like never before. While social and family pressures against Christianity remain high, God is still drawing people to Himself!
Thank you for partnering with me to proclaim Christ to the nations. Please join me in asking God to move in the hearts of people in the Middle East as we “declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalm 96:3)