Andy Lepper

I am heartbroken to share that Andy Lepper has lost his life to Covid.


I met Andy and Susan (Micah was just a wee baby at the time) when my friends and I were traveling in India. My friend Jamie owns a non-profit foundation and through her, we would stay at their orphanage in Alwar. Susan cooked these incredible homemade meals for us. They were beyond gracious with what they had.


Susan was a force of strength and resilience. Andy was welcoming, funny and everything that feels good about a boy that has grown up in the south. Little Micah was just a little baby and sooo, so cute. My actual interaction with them was for a mere 3-4 days? I connected with Andy over Facebook every now and then but that's about it. And yet-- it feels foolish to say-- this loss cuts deep. This news just breaks my heart! It's sooo surreal. Unfair. Nonsensical.


Andy gave so much of himself to us while we were there. He picked us up in the middle of the night-- if I remember correctly, hours away from the airport. He was happy as a clam to have guests and told us stories. We stopped at an Indian McDonald's, which was an adventure in itself.


I was beyond tired and emotionally overwhelmed during this last part of the trip. But being in their presence and watching their tireless selflessness, it really put things into perspective. Andy was a Carolina boy that missed southern baking, so I did my darnedest to find ingredients in India to make some kind of treat for him (Note to self: 99% Impossible). I remember feeling like I was all elbows there so it felt like a mission. It was the very least I could do. I managed to somehow make some No Bake cookies. They were a little weird but edible and delicious. Andy was crazy psyched and grateful... I don't even think he shared them, lol. Ever since-- like I do-- I never stopped thinking about how I could go back and somehow successfully bring him REAL baked goods that would still be edible. Ha!


They were a beautifully soft place to land that helped to refill my cup before we journeyed on... And those BOYS at the orphanage... The sweetest boys... I always imagined I'd have time to go back. Actually be of service to THEM next time around. Andy was so excited to be a dad. Now Micah will grow up without his Papa. As a mother, I can't even... I just can't...


Truly, this SUCKS. I know with the amount of prayers going up for him, this was divine timing. There are reasons beyond our understanding I don't care to question and don't have the energy to right now. I know Susan will be 'fine.' That woman could carry the entire world on her shoulders with grace. She has a tremendous, resounding strength-- truly, the heart of a lioness. But I'm beyond devastated for her and hope she doesn't have to be so strong right now.


Anyway, I wanted to honor Andy's life... Honor what they did for me in a few short days. The mark they both left. And I had completely forgot he wrote a blog for me a while back. It's a beautiful sentiment and I thought I'd leave you with his own words...


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Today’s inspiration comes all the way from Alwar, India. I am so honored to have Andy Lepper write for us this week. Andy runs a non-profit called No Longer Orphans and is ‘Papa’ to 35 boys at Shiloh Children’s Home in Alwar. I had the pleasure of meeting Andy and his wife Susan while traveling in India with friends. We got to stay at the boys home, they fed us, took care of us and we watched 35 happy, rambunctious, well-adjusted boys play, laugh and take care of each other. They are truly memories and people I will never forget.

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If you didn’t know, I live in India. My wife and I run a children’s home. Some might call it an orphanage. We have 35 boys. I see some pretty amazing things. Some of them make me laugh. Some of them make me cry. Some of them make me think. Today was a thinking kind of day. I encountered a few things worth writing about. I will share one experience with you. I was having a nice leisurely ride on my motorcycle when I passed him. At first I didn’t catch what he was doing. He was slumped over on his hands and knees on the asphalt picking something up. That something was grains of wheat. As I became aware of what he was doing I got a wider look. And don’t judge me, but I stopped to watch and didnt help. About 20 feet ahead was his motorcycle with a 50 pound bag of wheat on it. Something had happened and the bag had lost some of its content. But not much. Maybe a pound of grain at the most. But here was this man on his hands and knees picking up one pound of wheat that was spread out over 20 feet. I repeat, On his hands and knees. WHY? Was he so poor that this was his family’s rations for the month and that 1 pound meant a day that his children wouldn’t eat? Or was he afraid of what his boss might say if he found out a mistake had happened? I will never know the reason he was so intent on rescuing a pound of wheat, one grain at a time. But what strikes me the most is his intensity for such a little thing. The truth is that he probably could ration the remainder and stretch it so the loss is minimal to his family. The truth is also that his boss probably would never actually know that some was missing if that was the reason. This smallest of things mattered to him. You could tell that each grain had value to him. Seeing this turned my thoughts to my 35 boys, my 35 Indian men in training. You see, life is made up of thousands of small events that get overshadowed by the handful of major events. These small events make up our days, our weeks, our years. It’s these little things that make us who we are. I will have thousands of encounters with each one of my boys. So the question I pose to myself is whether I see the value in these small events as they happen. Do I cherish the tiny things that make up the whole of our lives? Do I recognize the importance of one of my little ones who slips his hand in mine when he wants comfort? Do I enjoy the times where they look at me searching for affirmation? These moments are building my young boys into men. Do I value the moments I have with each boy, even if no one will ever know? What are the small things worth to you? Even if no one would ever find out, do you value the insignificant things like this Indian man? Luke 16:10 One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. *******************************************************************************************************************************



My time with these guys may have been 'a few grains worth' in the grand scheme of my life. But they packed a punch and taught me a lot about love and selflessness that I'll never forget. The small events definitely matter.


God bless you, Andy. Rest in peace.


Mandi



"I’ve got a long way to go but love alone is worth the fight. I will not personally respond to this but thank you for the love and prayers."







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