Ravi's early life was like so many who grew to be great persons of faith. His mother was of Hindu birth but had been converted to Christianity by a missionary as a young woman and was turned away by her family. His father, an Indian national who worked as a civil servant was a bureaucrat for the British colonial government and he learned English well and was a nominal Anglican. But Ravi grew up confused and in his youth decided there was no God and declared himself an atheist. His mother, however, refused to give up on him and as God shows up in some of the strangest situations, He did so for Ravi. This troubled seventeen year old teenager, filled with hostility and not wanting to go on, attempted suicide. But visiting Swiss missionaries visited him, left a Bible and tasked his mother to read to Ravi from the Book of John. As she read from John's Gospel, one particular passage impacted the trouble young man, Chapter 14, verse 9 which says, "Because I love, you also will live." He was at the low point and thought he needed to learn more, so he prayed and the result was an opening of his heart and the beginning of a wonderful future on behalf of the Lord.
Fast forward to about ten years ago when I met Ravi over the airwaves via the Bible Broadcasting Network (BBN) on a Sunday morning before going to lead an adult Bible study class. It had been suggested to me by one of my students who shows the love of God in all that she does. I checked him out and I was hooked. The first time I heard his voice, however, I thought he was a Scotsman, but when I later saw his first video, I learned that the British administrators in his days in India were Scottish and he adopted the dialect. It was music to my ears coming from Scottish descendants myself and from them on he was part of my Sunday morning experience. Within a short period, I realized that of all the evangelists I've ever heard, be it in person or on TV, only Billy Graham ever touched my heart to the degree that Ravi did, and so I, as well as all who appreciated his gift of inspiring oral presentations, will miss him. But we are fortunate that his many sermons were saved and I'm sure BBN will use them routinely. And I also know that I may not know who, how or when his replacement will be, but I do know that God will provide someone according to His schedule. And for Ravi, enjoy your much needed rest and freedom from suffering, for God has called you home. Enjoy the Light and warmth of heaven as you join He who you so love at His table.