Pastor Chris Riedel
Pastor Chris Riedel began his mission work in Rio Bravo in the late 1990s. The senior high youth in his congregation at Arcola United Methodist Church were interested in spreading the work of the church outside the United States. When choosing the mission, the goal was to address real needs in a cost effective way and be able to develop long-term relationships. The Rio Bravo mission met all of these goals.
Over the past 15 years mission volunteers have laid some 15,000 bricks, built casitas, churches and schools. Pastor Chris has many favorite parts of the mission: from the wonderful food cooked by loving local women (excellent tamales and beans) and the fellowship between the Mexicans and Americans (many of whom have worked with each other for years and watched each other’s families grow-up and play soccer) to the faces of moms, dads and kids as we work with them to build a casita or school that will be theirs.
Pastor Chris has led Arcola United Methodist Church since 1995. A Northern Virginia native, Pastor Chris served at Bethel United Methodist Church in Warrenton and Centreville United Methodist Church before coming to Arcola. He resides in the area with his wife, Julia, and four children, Ben, Jessalyn, Emily, and Sam.
Molly Riedel (Pastor Chris’s sister-in-law) is the co-leader and unofficial “Mission Mom” for Arcola Church’s mission trips to Rio Bravo, Mexico. She’s been an invaluable assistant in coordinating and organizing the mission trips for over nine years.
Her favorite part of the trips is seeing the volunteers connect and build relationships with each other, and the people of Rio Bravo. Molly works hand-in-hand with the maestros of Rio Bravo in building the structures and teaching many local children bible school classes throughout the week.
Molly’s enthusiastic attitude is both comforting and motivating, as the volunteers are always willing and able to help with any project or task for the community, no matter what the weather or conditions. To Molly, it is an honor and a pleasure to assist with this mission and to work with the volunteers who are so willing to give a week of their time to help the people of Rio Bravo.