By PAM GRIFFIN
When Destin-based Mission Love Seeds first met Tricia, a little girl in the Philippines with a cleft palate, they immediately felt called to do their best to help her and her family.
Seven-year-old Tricia is making progress since her move to a Mission village in the Philippines, gaining weight by eating nutritional foods, receiving medications and starting school for the first time.
When MLS learned of her condition in August 2015, she weighed 15 pounds and was near death, running high fevers, underweight and malnourished.
“Her skin was blue/gray and her hair was very thin,” said Barbi Carroll, founder of Mission Love Seeds. “Out of frustration with doctors in the area where Tricia and her family lived, near Bacalod, we made a decision to move Tricia and her whole family closer to the Mission office in Antipolo City, better doctors and specialists.”
The new doctors quickly found that she had tuberculosis and would need medication for at least six months.
“In the beginning our concern was only for Tricia and how the mission could assist her and provide vitamins and special nutritious foods so she could pass the screening to receive a free surgery,” Carroll said. “We quickly learned we could not provide food for Tricia without providing for all her siblings. The family lives in extreme poverty and on many days the kids eat less than a hand full of rice.”
With help from Destin United Methodist Women, Generous Heart Ministry and other supporters, MLS has been able to provide food for the entire family, Tricia’s vitamins and her special nutritious foods.
After lip surgery, Tricia is looking more confident … and even beginning to smile.
Now 8 years old, Tricia had surgery on her upper lip in May, and it has made a world of difference.
“The doctors did an amazing job, and we are so exited the doctor agreed to do surgery on her lip,” Carroll said. “She is not yet strong enough to have the palate repaired and there is still a long road ahead of her.”
Tricia was released from the hospital May 21 and is recuperating at the home of Mission Love Seeds’ coordinator in the Philippines, Fely Zapanta.
Tricia recently started school along with all her siblings. MLS is working hard to provide food and vitamins for her to gain over 30 pounds so she can pass the screening for cleft palate surgery.
“What we thought would take a few months for Tricia to gain weight and pass the screening has now been more than a year,” Carroll said.
“It has been one thing after another, but God has been there guiding the Mission the whole time,” Carroll added. “He took us to Tricia and by his love and guidance, He is bringing us through step by step to help His precious child.
“God is so amazing in how He cares for each one of us, and by faith we can know we never have anything to worry about. He is always on our side.”
But there are still needs to help Tricia and her parents and four siblings. Food and medicine costs continue weekly.
If you would like to be a part of helping Tricia and her family, and maybe sponsor her or one of her siblings, mail check to Mission Love Seeds, 55 Country Club Drive, Destin FL 32541 or visit missionloveseeds.org and donate using PayPal. You can contact Carroll at email@example.com for more information or call 850-865-1055.
This article first appeared in The Destin Log July 9, 2016.