Father Ravindra is passionate about art. He formed a “Mill Hill Team” with three local Catholics led by him to run a catechesis program through art for children in Limbang. Some 90 children registered for the program.
Father Ravindra’s mission continues despite challenges including the language barrier, cultural differences and traditional superstitions.
Lapok Parish is composed of many races and the priest looked after Catholics who speak various languages and dialects — Bahasa Malayu, Iban, Kenyah, Kayan, Baravan, Sebub and Penan. He learned Bahasa Malayu and Iban to communicate and celebrate Mass. He also learned Mandarin, the language spoken by many Chinese-Malaysians.
In Limbang, people speak Mandarin, Iban and Bisaya. The parish is located in a border zone with Brunei and to reach the area from Miri visitors need to have a visa. A flight from Miri takes 30 minutes to reach Limbang.
Father Ravindra devoted himself to learning local languages in order to come close to the people.
“I realized during my stay in East and South Africa that language is a primary tool in the life of a missionary and that without knowing their language it is very difficult to really be in touch with the people,” the priest explained.
While serving in Limbang, Father Ravindra has also come face to face with superstitions such as the power of black magic as he visited the sick.
“I came across around 35 individuals who had experienced some sort of black magic attack and were seriously injured and ill for many years. I thank God that today they are free from all such evils,” he recently wrote on Mill Hill Missionaries’ website.
Father Ravindra thanks God for his beautiful and wonderful priestly ministry as he prepares to join Tatau Parish as a rector to work with Father Alex, an Indian Claretian priest. He looks forward to the future with joy.
The missionary says he experiences the joy of Christ in the lives of people to whom he ministers and is greatly inspired by the words of Pope Francis, who once said that “priests should be shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”