FAITH

Mission reaches out to those in need

Pam Griffin
Eight-year-old Lemy Otieno passed away unexpectedly this week in Nairobi, Kenya.

For 10 years, Destin-based Mission Love Seeds has worked to help children around the world have a better life, and is now celebrating its 10th anniversary.

But they have also helped many in our own community.

When tragedies occur, MLS is there to offer assistance and supply the immediate needs of those involved. They have helped victims of house fires in Destin and have taken truck loads of furnishings and more to those affected by hurricanes and tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama.

In the last couple of months, Mission has been asked to help a veteran in Fort Walton Beach and a family in Bondo, Kenya.

Veteran Jimmy Scholl

Veteran James “Jimmy” Scholl, 55, was born in Columbus, Ohio, but has been in Destin since 1973. 

“For over 30 years he has worked in the fishing community of Destin with people such as Buck Destin, Dewey Destin and Jimmy Shirah,” his daughter, Jennifer Gallion, told The Log.

Mission Love Seeds came into the picture when Scholl’s case worker through the VA, Jennifer B. Steinmeier, LCSW, at HUD VASH for Crestview and Walton County, contacted Barbi Carroll, founder of MLS. Mission also worked with Merlyn Applewhite of Lutheran Services of Florida.

“She (Steinmeier) was asking for help with furniture and such because when my father got his apartment he had absolutely nothing, and when I say nothing I mean no towels, no utensils, nothing,” daughter Gallion said. “Barbi got right on the ball, calling places and setting up for us to pick up stuff for his apartment. Nice stuff, too, not stuff that made him feel like he was putting junk into his new place. It is an absolutely wonderful program.”  

“We helped one of our veterans who is trying to get back on his feet,” Carroll told The Log. “Mission love Seeds provided complete bedroom sets with linens and bed spreads, living room furniture, TVs, bar stool and so much more. We are trying to help others in need, but funds are so low. The Mission couldn’t afford to rent a tuck to deliver the veterans furniture, so the daughter made several trips back and forth in her SUV and little pickup truck to pick everything up.”

Although Scholl was the first veteran MLS has helped, Gallion said “I know that they are looking to help more veterans.”

To donate furnishings or supplies to MLS, email missionloveseeds@cox.net or visit Mission Love Seeds Charity on Facebook and message.

Bondo, Kenya

This week, Mission received a request from 8,027 miles away from Destin — in Bondo, Kenya.

The request was for prayers for the family of 8-year-old Lemy Otieno.

Rushed to Kenya National Hospital’s Acute Ward (ICU) with a high fever, 11 days later, Lemy died from complications of malaria and a brain tumor.

Lemy is the only child in his family. His father was in terrible accident in 2011 and almost cost him his life, but he worked very hard to give a better life to his son.

Lemy’s grandmother, Jane Atieno Oteke, is a wonderful and sweet lady who has taken dozens of orphans into her home for years in Bondo. Victor Oduor Olang’o, who takes photos for MLS and does research on how to help children in Bondo, once lived with Jane and is staying with her now during his fact-finding trip to Bondo.

“Funds are needed to pay the hospital bill before Lemy can be released for burial, and monies will also be needed for funeral expenses,” Carroll said. “Mission Love Seeds is very familiar with this practice. It’s the same in the Philippines.”

The hospital bill is $1,200 in U.S. dollars. Transportation from Nairobi to Bondo is $500, a coffin is $145, and mortuary charges are $217.

“Please pray God will provide all that is needed to help the family with hospital and funeral expenses,” Carroll said. “God is hearing the cries of Lemy’s grandmother, Jane.”

If you would like to help with these unexpected expenses, visit missionloveseeds.org to use pay pal, send a check to 55 Country Club Drive, Destin FL 32541, or email missionloveseeds@cox.net for information or to let Carroll know a check is on the way.

No donation is ever too small.