We welcome the new president of Bethania Kids – Ravi Srinivasan!
A special thanks to Todd Heidelberger, who after five fruitful and blessed years ended his term as president of Bethania Kids. Ravi Srinivasan accepted the role as president of Bethania Kids in June, 2012. Below is a brief story about Ravi and his path to both Christianity and Bethania Kids.
Ravi Srinivasan’s parents were born and raised in India, but immigrated to America shortly after they got married. While Ravi was born in America, his life was a culmination of both American and Indian cultures. He grew up learning about Hinduism and frequently visiting family members in India, but at the same time, he had a love for American music, the drums, hamburgers and sports. In fact, when Ravi was asked what religion he practiced as he grew up, his answer was simply, “basketball.”
There was a defining moment in Ravi’s life that happened shortly after he graduated from college. He made a visit to India to spend time with his relatives and learn more about his cultural background. While on this trip, he visited a clothing factory and what he witnessed made a lasting impact on him. Children as young as nine years old were cutting out fabrics, sewing, and working in assembly lines. He recalls looking into their eyes and not seeing the vibrant sparkle of life which usually radiates from a child, rather there was a burdened, drab, and lifeless look about them. The moment Ravi saw those kids he told himself that if ever an opportunity arose to help children like these, he would take it.
Some years later, Ravi met a woman in India named Meena and they eventually got married. After their wedding, Meena moved to America to live with Ravi. A few years into their marriage, Ravi and Meena were filled with joy when they became pregnant with their first child. However, that joy was met with devastation when, on December 25th in Meena’s final trimester, they lost their baby.
Heart-break, anguish and utter sadness filled their hearts and lives. What was sure to be one of the happiest events of their lives turned into one of the most heart-wrenching. All they could do to cope with the pain was to try and get back to a routine. At that time, Ravi still considered basketball to be his religion, and he had been playing with some friends at a local Lutheran church on a regular basis. He continued playing with them shortly after losing their child to help occupy his mind. Ironically, it was through playing basketball at this church that Ravi found his true religion.
Although Ravi was only visiting the church to play basketball, the pastor heard about what happened to him and Meena, and he came out one evening to talk with Ravi. Ravi was struck by the kindness and empathy the pastor expressed. When the pastor asked if he could have someone talk with him and Meena, Ravi agreed. Shortly thereafter, a woman visited the Srinivasans and spent time listening to their story and sharing her own. It turned out that a similar traumatic event happened in her life. After she left, Meena and Ravi felt a huge burden lift from their hearts and decided that they would like to learn more about God. Before long, they both began attending church and they received Christ into their hearts and lives.
The Srinivasans learned of Bethania Kids through their church, and Ravi, remembering his commitment to help kids in need, became very active in the organization serving as a board member and treasurer before accepting the role of president. Ravi and Meena adopted a girl from India and later had a baby girl of their own. God has worked in beautiful ways through the Srinivasan family, and Bethania Kids is blessed to have his leadership as we nurture and equip the children of India. Also, though Ravi has put his love of Christ before all things, he still enjoys playing basketball in his spare time.