Hey, friends, it's Chloe again! It's been a few weeks, so I thought I would update you on what's been going on around here. The biggest news is that Susan recently got a new puppy! His name is Mickey and he's a sweetheart when he's not chewing on your clothes or your fingers. He's already had quite a few adventures and he frequently gets yelled at for making a mess. He's not very old, but he seems to be settling in well. All of the boys love to play with him (as you can see in the picture above) and he enjoys the attention.
School has officially changed times for the winter, which means that our whole schedule has been thrown off this week. Morning prayer starts an hour later and lunch has to be made for all of the boys to take to school. We are adjusting and finding a new rhythm. Not only has school changed times, but Diwali break starts tomorrow. All of the kiddos will have a 13 day break for the festival, so that will be another change in our current routine. It should be a lot of fun to have everyone at home!
We have several things that we ask you to pray for. Please pray that the believers in our church will be encouraged and stay strong in their faith. Many are facing difficulties. One woman needs to have a very expensive surgery done, so we ask that you pray for God to provide the money for the surgery and keep her healthy in the meantime. Of course, please continue to pray for all of the boys here. The weather is changing, so we are praying that each one of them stays healthy and strong. Lastly, would you pray for Susan? Please ask God to give her strength, wisdom, compassion, and the ability to carry on.
I thank each one of you for your continued support and interest in our ministry! I will leave you with this verse.
"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Hello, friends! I suppose I should introduce myself to you.... I'm Chloe! I'm spending some time at Shiloh to teach Micah and serve in any way that I can. I plan to keep you guys updated with some fun blog posts and photos.
Susan and Micah returned to Shiloh a few weeks back and were greeted by fifteen new boys! Susan has been very busy in the hottest part of the summer buying supplies for these new boys. Please enjoy this video and getting introduced to them, and seeing your generosity at work!
Happy 19th Anniversary to my Andy in heaven.
Hello my Shiloh family and friends,
First of all, I want say thank you so much for praying for me and my kids and my staff. It has been very difficult in the month of December and January. There was not even one day that went by that I did not cry.
Micah-boy asked so many questions about his dada and Jesus. I did not have an answer for all of them. I tried my best to answer him, and finally one day he said, "Mama, Jesus is my dada from now on until I go to heaven to see Dada." When he said that, I cried the entire day.
Every kid in our home misses their Papa. Andy was the best papa to all our boys.
We all had good Christmas and New Year. We gave 300 cakes to our friends and family in our community. On Christmas day we had almost 200 people come to our church and we had lunch. It was so beautiful! Everyone enjoyed it, and I cried.
In the month of January, kids only went to school for five days because of Covid and Omicron. They did online school the rest of the time. A few of our kids had flu and cold, but no one needed to be in the hospital, thank God. It was so cold and cloudy that we did not see the sun until 12 pm for few weeks.
I want to thank every one of you guys for supporting me and caring of us. Without your help and prayer, I can’t do this. I love you all very much.
May our God bless you all absolutely.
Lots of Love,
Susan & Micah and Shiloh family
November 7, 2021
Dear friend of the No Longer Orphans Ministry,
Greetings from Shiloh!
I sincerely thank you for praying for Micah and me. It has been a very hard year for both of us since Andy went to be with his Master forever.
There are several nights when I am not able to sleep at all. I keep thinking if only I could have taken Andy to the USA for treatment, or if only I could have taken him to a better hospital in a major city of India. At that time, Micah keeps reminding me “Mommy, do not be sad, Dada is with Jesus having a good time. One day we will see him.” I thank God for Micah who keeps reminding me of the blessed hope we have in Jesus!
As you know, Micah and I were in the states for over two months. We had a great time with my in-laws and Micah loved every minute of his stay with his Grandparents and with his Aunt and family.
It was also so good to visit some of our dear friends who pray and support this ministry from their heart. We came back to Alwar on September 22, 2021. All the children and staff are doing well. The work of the Lord is also being blessed, we have some believers added to the church.
Please pray that God may continue to provide for the ongoing monthly support for our Shiloh Home. I want to see that each child makes a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, but also chooses to serve Him with their lives.
Please also join us in continuing to pray for divine healing upon Elijah Holland. We are thankful for his parents, who through their friends, raised support for four months in honor of Elijah.
We are still praying for God to move in the heart of some young person who is willing to come to India and help me with teaching all the children and specially to home-school Micah.
I feel sad, overwhelmed, anxious, and discouraged at times, but my faith is stronger than ever before. I keep reminding myself that no matter what, I will not leave the work that Andy and I started with the Lord. I thank God for His faithfulness. As I have said before, I am not a speaker, I am not a fundraiser. All I have ever known is to work hard each day for all the children in our home. I sincerely covet your prayers and guidance as to how I can do better.
In the Will of God, we are planning to start the work of building the Andy’s tombstone.I want this to be a memorial to God’s faithfulness for many generations to come until Jesus comes back.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). We have a God given vision and a commitment to act on it. I know personally that when our vision comes from God, He will give us the needed strength, wisdom, connections, relationships, and resources to make it happen, because He’s “the author and finisher of our faith.”
We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Susan and Micah Lepper.
I wanted to give you a general update of how we are doing in the middle of this global pandemic.
We have been on a self-imposed total lockdown since March 10. The government has made mandatory lockdowns half a dozen times for varying lengths, but we haven't left Shiloh for health reasons. My calculations are 24 weeks without venturing more than 50 feet out of our front door. I will say that 3 of the staff members have ventured out carefully to help get us cash and get supplies here and there. But none of the boys or I have gone out in 24 weeks! I have slowly been losing my mind.
The question we get asked the most is, "How is your food situation?" Even before we were locked down, I had a hunch that something might be brewing. I travel extensively and have flown through Japan and Italy since December, so I knew that things might get bad soon. So in February, I instructed the staff to buy six months of food. Everyone thought I was crazy. It was a hard-fought battle, but I held my ground and insisted that we have a stockpile of essential food, rice, wheat, oil, and lentils. Everything else was a luxury at the time.
Sure enough, we went on lockdown, and it became impossible to get food. When I say lockdown, I mean TOTAL lockdown. This was not a stay at home order. This was a TOTAL lockdown. There are videos on the internet of the police all over India that physically enforced this government-issued ALL INDIA lockdown. No one was allowed to go out unless they were the utmost essential personnel. All Amazon deliveries stopped, which was the hardest thing for me this whole time. You could not venture out to even buy food. Trucks that transport food from store to store were allowed, but they couldn't deliver to individual customers.
We have slowly become a beacon to our local community in the last few years. When the lockdown happened abruptly, many in our village were left with very little food. Even then, they were day laborers, and with no way to work, they couldn't afford to buy food anyway. So we started having a steady stream of people who would come to us in the cover of darkness to see if we could give them enough to survive. We never turned anyone away. Although I had a "hunker down" mentality and a small part of me wanted to save everything in case things got worse, the humanity in me kicked in, and we ended up helping every single person who came to us. Some times we gave food from our storeroom. Other times when the lockdown was lifted, we just gave cash to people so they could buy their own food. I don't think people in the West have understood the full impact of this for developing countries. It was estimated here in India that there would be more people starving than dying of COVID unless things were drastically changed.
Our name is No Longer Orphans. Our motto is, "Our name is our mission." This means not only do we take care of current orphans but also do everything we can to prevent there being more orphans. We saw firsthand people who were not eating so that their children could eat. Think about that. I don't think many people in the West have had to endure that. I am not demeaning the West by any means. I am just sharing the reality of what we and those around us have gone through the last six months.
When a proud family comes to us, begging for food to survive, we have to live out our name. So we care for these children and families by doing what we can to prevent them from being orphans. Would you rather take in an orphan whose mother died of starvation, or would you instead give the mother some rice from your surplus? If I had to venture a guess, I would say that between food and cash, we have given away well over 10,000 meals to local people since March.
This is what we have been through for the last six months. We have not had super nutritious food to eat. Our plates aren't filled with green leafy vegetables or even protein of any sort most times. But we are just trying to survive. And we are doing our best to help those around us survive too. This will not last forever. This will pass. Better days will come. We are holding on to that hope.
I will add this: Amazon has been sporadic at best. In the beginning, I feared the worst and had over 100 orders in limbo that were in dispatched and in transit to us. Some of those packages took three months to reach us. Here in August, it has gotten a little better, even though we just had a random 10-day lockdown that just ended earlier this week. I have tried to use Amazon to give us better nutrition through long-term storage foods such as peanut butter and protein powder for milkshakes for the boys.
Things have been off and on, and I have used the good times to stockpile. My office is currently filled with boxes full of Amazon deliveries of peanut butter, protein powder, ramen noodles, soups, and anything else that Amazon India has in stock (which ain't much these days). This is our nutrition stockpile.
One of my biggest fears is that something like this will happen again, and we will not be prepared. So I have been praying and brainstorming ways to be more sustainable. We do already have animals and farm our own wheat, mustard, and a few other crops. But we don't do enough to plant vegetables or have sustainability in our chickens.
So I researched Youtube and built my own egg incubator out of a fish tank. We have hatched ten chickens so far and are confident that we can keep making "new" chickens if something were to shut down the world again.
We also have been saving our seeds and planting them, and it has been a learning process. We have had a few seed deliveries from Amazon and are confident that we can plant vegetables from here onward to provide our own food.
We never really thought about how far along we were until this happened. We have chickens that can give us eggs to eat or to incubate for more chickens. We have water buffaloes for milk that we already turn into drinking milk, curd, yogurt, ghee, and butter. We grow our own wheat, which we grind ourselves to make roti, which are Indian flour tortillas. We grow mustard, which we grind to get mustard oil. So we have not been bad at being sustainable already. We have just made sure to brush up on our skills and to be prepared for anything the future throws at us.
The number one thing we have dealt with within the last six months is stress over food security. But we also prepared enough ahead where we have been able to feed hundreds of people. Not a day goes by that we do not praise God that He has provided for us in such a way that we can also provide for the at-risk around us. That is what life is about. It is not about a "hunker down" mentality. It is not about hoarding for yourself as the world dies around you. If I felt that way, I wouldn't have given my life to be on the other side of the world. Instead, life is about giving everything of yourself because you know that God is the one who provides. And as soon as you give everything you have, He will fill you back up again.
I pray we NEVER have something like this happen on a global scale again. But I am also thankful to God for the reminder of our humanity. We cannot go it alone. And we shouldn't want to.
2020 is a whole new world for most of us. We're all learning how to live in a "new normal" and adjust to pandemic life. Things can feel really uncertain and unknown, and No Longer Orphans and Shiloh isn't immune to the uncertainty.
We know that our supporters are the best out there. Most of our donors have been with us for over five years, supporting us monthly all this time. We are so, so grateful for you. We couldn't do this without you.
We also know that you are so loyal to us, and we hope you know we are loyal to you and grateful to you. No Longer Orphans has been able to survive thanks to your support all these years! Praise God!
As we look to the future, we recognize that to continue to grow, our support base needs to grow. We need you to multiply yourself. We started this year talking about multiplication: if every donor we had multiplied themself, our ability to take in kids at risk and provide for our community would double over night. Our needs are beginning to outstrip our available funds. We need you now more than ever.
This week, we are launching a brand new feature to our tool box. Along with a brand new website, we now have the ability to host Peer to Peer Campaigns. This means for any specific fundraiser we create, you can create your OWN fundraiser attached to it, set your own goal, share it with your friends, and invite others to support us like you have.
We prayerfully ask you to consider doing that for us this very week. WE need extra funds to send the boys to school, and we have a new campaign set up HERE.
Will you share it? Even better, will you become a fundraiser for us?