In our lifetime, we meet many different people. Some of them leave a lasting impression but very few leave an impact. Ravi not only impacted a few, but a whole generation for Jesus Christ.
In India, Ravi popularised apologetics and made it almost a household name in the evangelical circles. I would like to recount my own little journey with him.
I was introduced to apologetics very early in life as a young believer in Jesus in 1991 through a regional seminar conducted by RZIM Life Focus Society in Odisha.
I still remember how fascinated I was with this newfound tool of “apologetics” through which I could reason in my mind the faith I held. My spiritual journey changed after that. I kept in touch with the ministry and started listening to the audiotapes of messages from Ravi. I also purchased the book “A Shattered Visage-The real face of atheism”. I must confess that I understood very little reading it at that time. However, I was so impressed that Ravi authored this book which had profound and intense philosophical arguments.
In January 1994, a national conference was organized in Delhi where Ravi was the main speaker. He was speaking on the theme “Cries of the Heart” every evening at Mavlankar auditorium, New Delhi. This was a treat for me and my wife as we listened intently to this man who would make a huge impact on our lives. We were richly blessed. This was the first time I met Ravi face to face. Here started my long association with RZIM and Ravi.
I moved to Delhi and was invited to join the national board. My meeting up with Ravi became more frequent in smaller groups and one on one settings. How I enjoyed being with him! His presence was so encouraging. Those days RZIM Life Focus Society had Regional Resource Centres. We had one in Delhi as well. I served as Honorary Co-ordinator of Delhi Centre for a few years as well. I was part of many conferences and seminars where Ravi used to speak.
Those days Ravi used to write a lot of books and I used to look forward to the board meeting where he would come and present a personally autographed copy to each of us. I have all those books and they will always be my treasured possession.
I had many one on one meetings, meals and time with Ravi. These will always be special memories for me. Sometimes we had to take tough decisions as part of governance. In all these situations, Ravi’s kindness stood out clearly. He was a kind and generous person. He loved to share his blessings with everyone around.
Ravi had a special love for Delhi. He would quietly slip in and out of Delhi without making it known too much. During a few of these visits, I had the opportunity to meet him. He loved to talk about Delhi, loved to speak in Hindi and loved food. He had loads of memories growing up here in Delhi and probably every time he would come into this city, he would try to relive those days in his mind! I remember especially the time that he was invited to speak at St. Stephen’s College.
He was so happy to speak in that setting as this was and probably still is a dream college for any Delhi student. God had given a vision to Ravi and he was passionately guarding it. That passion took him to cover the length and breadth of the world to carry the Gospel. He was at ease with every category of people. He could meet the heads of the state with the same ease as he would with a person on the street.
I have been truly blessed knowing him and I pray that RZIM would continue to carry Ravi’s vision of reaching the thinkers with the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Dr.(CA) Sanjay Patra,
New Delhi, India