For nearly 40 years, Kumar has been – literally – flying the flag and blazing the trail for the Hethne community to know the love of Jesus.

The lifelong cyclist is something of a fund-racer, who on occasion has raised tens of thousands of dollars for mission work with Operation Mobilisation (OM) through his long-distance races.

His heart that beats for the sport, beats and bleeds also for the Hethne people who number over a billion across the planet. 

Having served them for so many years, Kumar shared that he now concentrates on encouraging people to reach out to the Hethne.

It is a grand mission that saw the 60-year-old travel frequently to organise and speak at Hethne conferences all across the world, prior to the coronavirus lockdowns.

But belying the great dreams for God of this globe-trotting career missionary are humble beginnings from South Asia and a lifetime of learning and sacrifice.


Born in a religious family, as a young man Kumar made the bold decision to follow Jesus in an environment where Jesus was little known.

That choice might well have been due to the fact that he was no stranger to radical thinking. Kumar shared that as a student, he was influenced by thinkers like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Describing how he was amazed that Jesus challenged the status quo of His time, he admitted: “That was what attracted me – the uniqueness of Christ.”

Not long after accepting Jesus in university in the early 1980s, Kumar decided to live out the Great Commission beginning right where he was in his hometown as an “open-air preacher”.

But the affable young man had more than Gospel passion burning in his heart – he also happened to have renown and influence.

“I was a well-known person in my hometown,” explained Kumar, who was sponsored by a local government in South Asia in 1982 for a national bicycle expedition.

All told, he cycled about 20,000 km around the country, so he was always introduced as “Kumar the cyclist”. People would say to him, “Oh, you’re the guy — fast guy.”

Before COVID-19, Kumar went on a round-trip around Taiwan raising funds for the Hethne cause. The 60-year-old has been passionate about cycling all his life.  

Kumar’s love for adventure wasn’t exclusive to the land however, as he was also an avid swimmer.

“I used to do long-distance swimming, two to three hours in the deep sea. Nobody told me about sharks in those days!” he quipped.

Little did he know at the time, however, then his adventure on the seas had only just began.

Kumar aboard the Doulos.

Having already served in various roles like driver and mechanic in his ministry in South Asia, Kumar was about to put his mechanical background and penchant for hands-on industrial work to great use aboard the Doulos with OM Ships International in 1987.

He would ultimately spend around four years aboard the Doulos, and a second tour in the 1990s, before in characteristically adventurous fashion, making the bold switch to academia.


With a wry smile, Kumar recounted giving away his beautiful and expensive toolbox filled with the best German and Swiss tools that had served him so well through the years.

Relocating to Singapore, he then slowly moved into academia by finishing his bachelor’s degree. Kumar’s Master of Divinity, Master of Theology and doctoral degrees would also later come through years of part-time studies.

“I never thought I would end up in the academic world,” he reflected. “I’m not really an academic person – I’m quite surprised that my other side of the brain is working when I’m 60!”

Yet while Kumar values the opportunities that credentials can bring, he is careful not to fall into the academic trap.

One example is his insistence on staying away from highfalutin jargon when relating to the person he is sharing God’s message with, choosing to share with them practical tips instead, such as not criticising their family and to avoid arguing with the culture.

For someone who was used to being beaten while preaching by the roadside, and going without food when his team was unable to sell books for the mission in the early days, it might be surprising that Kumar looks back on those tough times fondly.

Kumar with his crew mates working in the engine room on board the Doulos.

Why? Because of the many precious memories that he has made along the way.

For instance, a young man named Dara* turned up many years ago to one of seminars Kumar had organised to hear him speak, upset that Kumar had led his (Dara’s) parents away from their previous religion.

Dara had come to the seminar a broken man, as his business had failed and he was greatly disappointed with life.

“Although he was not a believer, he attended the seminar with many questions about the faith. God answered all his questions, one by one. After two days into the seminar, he surrendered himself to God. God truly works in wondrous and unfathomable ways!” shared Kumar.

Kumar preaching passionately in South Africa on the need to reach out to the billions of people who have not heard of the Gospel.

Today, Dara is actively involved in the work of outreach which Kumar believes has since brought more people to Jesus than his own ministry has over the last 20 years.

“I was totally unaware of the impact God had made on Dara,” said Kumar. “In fact, I was quite discouraged at that time, as only about 10 people attended the seminar. I am gladdened when I think how it could have left such an indelible impact on Dara’s life that he turned to the Lord.

“Sometimes, God gives us only glimpses of how He partners us for His glory. He asks for our patience while He brings what seems to be our most futile efforts into fruition.”

Kumar was also instrumental in spearheading a local work to befriend, bless and minister to migrant construction workers eking out a living in Singapore.

Kumar recounted other wonderful encounters, like meeting a 15-year-old boy named Unni who was suffering from cancer.

The meeting was unplanned and a bit inconvenient, and the two were only able to have a 20-minute conversation at the time.

Months later, Kumar would learn that Unni had succumbed to the cancer – but not before deciding to believe in Jesus.

Moments like these are what continue to drive Kumar today, who carries on the work by connecting with South Asian migrant workers living in Singapore through his warmth, love and trademark hearty laugh.


With his feet ever on the pedals, it does not seem like Kumar intends to slow down any time soon.

Kumar has cycled from Singapore to Malacca as well as from Singapore to Penang. Before COVID-19, he even embarked on a round-trip around Taiwan, armed with little more than a tiny Sony pocket projector and a laptop, stopping to preach and teach along the way.

“I did three cycling trips in the last three years in Singapore,” said the lifelong cyclist with a beaming smile.

“I do cycling to raise money for the Hethne work. I raised over $20,000.”

Why the tireless fund-racing?

It fuels what Kumar intends to carry on doing in his 60s – rallying all kinds of people to reach the Hethne including professionals, engineers and medical missionaries.

“We need to challenge people – we need to do something to reach out to these people.”

Ever the trailblazer even after 40 years, Kumar’s heart continues to burn fiercely for what the next face of 21st century missions will look like.

“We need to think beyond traditional missions,” he urged. “How we can impact the arts scene? How can we affect the businesses?

“We need to challenge people – we need to do something to reach out to these people.”

* The interviewee’s full name has been withheld for specific purposes. Dara’s name has also been withheld.

To support the work of reaching the Hethne, one of the largest communities in the world who have yet to know Jesus, visit

Wanna go on a life of adventure with God? Explore opportunities by visiting the OM Singapore website or following them on Instagram and Facebook

To commemorate their 40th year, OM Singapore has also published a book, Unchanging: On Mission With a Faithful God, capturing 40 stories of Singaporeans who love God and His mission in many parts of the world. You can purchase the book here:

  1. Which part of Kumar’s journey did you find most inspiring?
  2. Take a moment to consider your talent, skills and gifts from God. 
  3. How can they be used for the Great Commission?