When Ashok Kumar was 22 years old, he took up the challenge of riding 18,000 km across India on his bicycle in the span of one year.
Ever since then, God has ignited in Ashok the same passion for treading paths less travelled. One such path was joining Operation Mobilisation (OM) in 1983 and sailing with the OM ship MV Doulos in 1987 and 1993.
For the last 30 years, Ashok, who did his doctoral study on reaching Hindus at Gordon Cornwell Theological Seminary, has primarily been involved in reaching out to the Hethne community in India and around the world with the Gospel.
"Hethne" is a coined term referring to the Hindu people. In a global estimate, every one in seven people is part of the Hethne community. Though this makes outreach seem like an immense challenge, Ashok presses on relentlessly - teaching, raising awareness, and mobilising people to share Christ with this community.
God also led Ashok to start the Hethne Net Consultation, a global strategic network which shares the best experiences and ways to reach the Hethne community around the world.
As a result, OM collaborated with the Singapore Centre for Global Missions, the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission, and Serving In Mission to hold the first consultation in Chiang Mai, Thailand last year from Nov 9 – 13. This collective consultation was aimed at bringing together people and ministries with a passion for reaching the Hethne community with the Gospel.
The inaugural consultation received a highly enthusiastic response from participants from all over the world. Many organisations were represented, including the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies Bangalore, Union Biblical Seminary (Pune), Philippines Missions Association, Interserve UK, Interserve India, Youth With A Mission, Lausanne, Cornerstone Foundation, Allahabad Bible College, Methodist Missions Society and others.
YC, a participant said, “I was truly blessed (by the consultation). It enriched me in my understanding of the Hethne people in my field.”
“This gathering is historically pioneering to the growing influence of Hethne around the world,” Ashok emphasised. “The network will give a new impetus to Christ-believing communities and churches.”
Published: Monday, 29 February 2016
Credit: See Keen TAN