Category Archives: Norway

Rune Edvardsen – the Gospel to a New Generation


Ulrichs - May 2016In July, I spend three weeks in Norway. It was primarily a personal visit spent with my siblings and some of my other relatives and friends who live in and around the capital of Oslo. We had a wonderful time, rich on good fellowship and memories!  There was also room for a week of ministry. Coinciding with my trip, Iranian Bridge partner, Sargon Daniali, visited and shared his faith among Iranians who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and settled as refugees in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Rune - Aril Kari TanzaniaIn Norway, I introduced Sargon to one of the largest and most effective indigenous mission organizations in Europe, Troens Bevis, with whom we have partnered for over thirty years! The headquarters are located in Kvinesdal, a rural town in the southwestern part of Norway. From there, for almost fifty years, the dynamic late Aril Edvardsen with the support of his wife, Kari, reached around the world with the Gospel as evangelist, statesman and sponsor of indigenous missionaries.

Rune - Aril and RuneIn September, 2008, Aril Edvardsen died, having just completed a significant evangelistic crusade in Africa. Aril’s son, continued his father’s ministry. In the eight years since then, Rune has successfully made the generational transition from the older to the younger, making the Gospel relevant to the millennials (young adults and families with children). This was vividly expressed during the four days Sargon and I partook in Troens Bevis’ week-long annual Summer Festival in which 7000 people, including 1000 children, participated. This issue is a report from this present day ministry which continues to go strong in reaching the very least for Jesus Christ!

Please find below a link to the November 2008 Bridge Report, which is a commemorative issue presenting a brief background on Aril and his ministry, and Rune’s vision and call to lead the ministry his father had built into a new era.

Rune Music Feastval Pakistan web - CopyRune - with guitarRune’s tool in reaching the unreached is cont-emporary music concerts as catalyst to gather large crowds of youth in the nations, who are then presented with Jesus Christ who loves them and gives them a hope and a future! I will share more about this in next month’s Bridge Report.


Rune - Rune and SolviRune was once asked, “How does it feel to walk in your father’s shoes?” He replied, “I am walking comfortably in my own shoes.” That summarizes Rune’s leadership. Steve and I came to know him in the mid eighties as a newly married man in his early twenties – down to earth, quiet, unassuming, but attentive to others. Seeing him as leader of this world wide ministry eight years after his father’s death, I was impressed to find that he has been true to himself. Rune does not command stage center, but in humility gives room for the gifts and talents of his coworkers and the people he serves with the Gospel. He operates more as a team member, but when necessary—also as decisive leader. This is part of the success in the continuation of the ministry which has fostered loyal, committed, very talented coworkers. His wife, Sølvi, stands faithfully by his side as a great support, and manages the family and household and the many practical responsibilities which is part of having a traveling husband

Rune - transmitting the Gospel to a young, enthusiastic crowd at his concert in Pakistan

Rune – transmitting the Gospel to a young, enthusiastic crowd at his concert in Pakistan

Aril was a charismatic, dynamic preacher who thrived on large crusades; Rune has been called, not so much to preach, as to use contemporary music as a forum for transmitting the love and presence of God to the youth in the nations. With his band, Rune travels to some of the most dangerous and inaccessible places, and conducts Music Festivals where tens of thousands gather and are introduced to Jesus as Savior. As scores come to faith, churches are planted, and mercy ministries begin flourishing. There is much fruit!


Rune - Sarons DalIt was a love fest, indeed! Knowing I was visiting Norway, Rune had invited me to come with Sargon and enjoy the weeklong annual Summer Festival sponsored by Troens Bevis at their headquarter, Saron’s Dal.

Sargon with Lasse Rosten, faithful leadership member

Sargon with Lasse Rosten, faithful leadership member

When Sargon arrived in Oslo, we flew together to Kristiansand, Norway’s southernmost coastal city, then traveled inland by train for an hour to Kvinesdal, a small, stunningly beautiful town nestled in a mountain valley. This place is known around the world as a beacon of light by millions of people and scores of communities who have been transformed by the message of God’s love preached by Aril for over 50 years, and then Rune who is now leading the ministry into new expressions of the Gospel – but the message stays the same.


Rune - Bj Olav Thune Bjørn Olav Thune, longstanding leadership team member and daily administrator of the Indigenous Missionaries Department, came to the train station and picked us up. Bjørn Olav is responsible for oversight over the 1000 national pastors and Gospel workers sponsored by Troens Bevis in some of the most dangerous and unreached nations of the world.  He warmly embraced Sargon, and and made sure he was well taken care of in every way. The two of them bonded over their mutual passion for missions. Kari, Aril’s wife, insisted I stay with her. We enjoyed our time together, reminiscing over our thirty some years of friendship and partnership between us and our husbands, Aril and Steve.

The worship sessions were dynamic and uplifting

The worship sessions were dynamic and uplifting

The Festival was attended by 7000 people, including 1000 children. The motto was, “GO OUT WITH LOVE!”The setup was impressive— everything took place in an informal, relaxed atmosphere in which everybody felt comfortable, yet the tremendous organizational skills and dedicated work of the leaders made everything run smoothly and effortless. Many had brought their RVs and tents, making this their family vacation.

The children gathered to watch a play with Biblical motif

The children gathered to watch a play with Biblical motif

During the day, the children and young people enjoyed participating in the many exciting and engaging activities, while the parents had some time to themselves, and could attend various seminars or teaching sessions on relevant topics on life—all with a Biblical, Jesus-centered perspective.

Sten Sørensen conducted a dynamic marriage seminar

Sten Sørensen conducted a dynamic marriage seminar

As an example, in Norway the Biblically-based marriage has been under siege. In 2009, the secular government gave full legal rights to gay marriage. Moreover, last year, the official State Church implemented these same rights for their members and clergy within the church, placing it on equal footing with traditional marriage. This has caused great controversy and divisiveness in the Christian community. Instead of throwing themselves into this sometimes vicious debate, Troens Bevis has chosen to firmly hold forth the Biblical model for marriage, while finding ways to strengthen and encourage the traditional family. One morning, one of the leaders, Sten Sørensen, moderated an open, honest discussion by three couples on the issues facing married and how they seek to resolve the various conflicts in their own marriages. Other topics were on the challenges in child rearing and the media, on support of Israel among Christians, on how to unite conservative and modern expressions of church, and how to be spiritual, not religous Christians. There was much to take home for everybody. There was a also a strong emphsis on missions with dynamic guest speakers. I will feature that story in next month’s Bridge Report.  As we said farewell, I was ready to pay for Sargon and my stay. Rune waved his hand, ”No, no—that’s o.k., you don’t pay!” Therein lies the continued longevity and vitality of this ministry: Hospitality, generosity and love — the hallmarks of Aril and Kari’s life together, which is amply demonstrated in their son, Rune! With his excellent team, he continues to hold high the banner on God’s love!

Watching the fathers lovingly engaged in their children’s lives, I was reminded of the words in Malachi 4:6, “...and He (the Lord) shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Watching the fathers lovingly engaged in their children’s lives, I was reminded of the words in Malachi 4:6, “…and He (the Lord) shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”





From Radical Muslim in Iran to Preacher of Jesus in Norway

Easter 2014 - Empty Grave ccFROM R.K.’s CORNER

When I visited my homeland, Norway, in September 2013, I visited the Afghan-Iranian Christian community in Oslo under the leadership of an old friend, Iranian-born Peter Dahlen.  Last month, visiting Norway and Germany, I spent time with other former Muslims from the Middle East and Central Asia who also are in living, dynamic relationships with Jesus.

As an Easter gift to you, I have asked Peter to share his and his sister’s testimonies — I trust their stories of faith and courage will edify you and strengthen you faith!  Please pray for both families, and for the persecuted church, especially the Christian believers living in restricted Muslim countries.

Easter 2014 cc

Peter Dahlen with his wife

Peter Dahlen with his wife

My sister, Soheila and I were born into a typical Muslim family in Iran. My father was a kind of Mullah, and he constantly tried to pressure me into becoming a devout Muslim by demanding I follow the many restrictive rules and regulations of the Qur’an. I did not want this, so one day at nine years old, when I loudly refused to believe in Allah, my father threw me out of the house into the streets and abandoned me. I became homeless and lived as a street kid for a few years, during which time I became one of the best pick-pocket thieves in the city.

One day, a group of men called the Mujahedeen grabbed me and enlisted me in into their ranks. I stayed with them for ten years. I was given weapons of all sorts – pistols, shotguns and bombs, and was taught how to use them. They told me that  the best thing that could happen to me in life, was to die for Allah. Their desire became my desire — my highest goal became to die in battle for Allah!

The Mujahedeen did not like the Shah or Khomeini – Iran’s religious leader, so they were working toward overturning  the country’s leadership in order to radicalize the country. A while after, the Iran–Iraq war broke out, they enlisted me to fight on Iraq’s front line against Iran. It was a grisly war with a very high number of fatalities.  At one point, we were only 18 soldiers at our enclave at in the front, battling 10,000 enemies on the other side. I discovered that I did not after all want to kill anybody, so I promised Allah that, if I did not die in this war, I would become totally devoted to him. Another time, a 100 pound rocket was launched against our front line by the Iranians. As I saw it coming towards us, I cried out, “Where are you, God?” Just as the rocket hit, I felt two large, strong hands lift me up into the air and then put me safely down, again. All the others around me died, I was the only one alive!  The Qur’an states that Allah is light, but it does not state that he has hands! I was perplexed, as I knew someone who cared had been looking after me. Who was that? During the war, I experienced other miraculous happenings. Once, a RPG rocket hit the car I sat in. The car was demolished, but I survived.

Peter with his Children

Peter with his Children

All of this caused me to have a lot of questions about life and death, and I felt an increasing need to find a God who could forgive my sins. I lost the desire to fight, and was able to escape to Kuwait. There the police caught me and deported me to Pakistan – I lived there for a while without passport and other identification papers. I sought asylum and was placed on a list to be sent to a safe country. Finally, Norway decided to accept me as such. On February 13, 1991, I was sent to Norway as refugee to Mo i Rana in the Northern part of the country. I wanted to move south to the capital of Oslo, but without papers and not attending school, I was in limbo.

Then things changed. In 1992, I was accepted as a student at a private Christian school that can be closest compared in the U.S. to a community college (Rønningen Folkehøyskole). When I arrived, I noticed everybody was kind and very different from the tough and tumble characters I used to hang out with. They brought their Bibles with them to class, and they made points of showing love and consideration towards others – and they prayed a lot to their God! I learned later that the students had done much intercession on my behalf, as I was very different from them. I drank alcohol, smoked joints and constantly got in trouble for doing wrong things. They wanted me to be saved!

One day I was lying on my bed in my dorm, half drunk and dizzy from alcohol and drugs. Suddenly, a light appeared in my room. It gradually was transformed into a brilliant heart, like it was made of crystal. The heart had a mouth and eyes and began to speak to me. Gradually, this beautiful heart began to disintegrate as it got distorted behind a cloud of smoke. I asked, “Why is this beautiful heart being destroyed?” Then a voice said, “It is not my heart – it is yours that is being destroyed.” Then the voice said, “Give me all that you struggle with.” The light came toward me and lifted me out of bed. I was reminded of what I had  experienced on the battle field during the war in my country when the two hands had lifted me up and saved me from a direct hit from the oncoming rocket. In this beautiful presence of God’s love and light, I gave my life to Jesus!  I was instantly set free from the addiction of tobacco, drugs and alcohol, and a deep healing process began to take place in my life – I was being transformed!

Next day, when I walked outside, I saw a young boy in the street who wore a t-shirt which had a picture of a hand with the words written underneath, “Reach-out Centre”. I knew  then that the Lord had called me to go out and share the love of Jesus with others who did not know Him!  I changed my Muslim name Amin Abbasi to my new Christian name, Peter Dahlen.

On Easter Sunday, 1993 – 21 years ago – I was baptized, after having met a God of love and forgiveness who is the total opposite of Allah who demands blood and death.

After two years at the school in Hurdal, I graduated. More training followed as I attended Bible school in Great Britain. After graduation in England, the Lord called me serve for a few years with Operation Mobilization, whereby I traveled extensively for the Gospel in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia.

I met my wife in Norway, who had come as refugee when she was a young girl with her family from Iran. We settled in Oslo, where we have been living and working and actively engaged in Gospel outreach, ministering specifically to the Farsi-speaking population (Iranians and Afghans) while raising our three children who were born in Norway.  All three  confess and know the Lord Jesus Christ!

When I meet Muslims in the street, I stop them and share my testimony of God’s love.  When I was a Muslim, I thought that the Bible was blasphemy, as it has been changed from the true scriptures of the Qur’an. Now I know the Bible is the true, Living Word of God for us today! Allah is not God, but JESUS IS THE LIVING, RISEN CHRIST WHO LOVES US AND SHED HIS BLOOD FOR US!


Peter Dahlen with his sister

Peter Dahlen with his sister

Twelve years ago, my sister, Soheila  visited me and my family in Norway from Iran.  I shared the Gospel with her, and she listened, but did not respond at that time. Two years later, Soheila visited us, again.  This time, we read the Bible together and talked more about Jesus, and she came to faith.  She was baptized in Oslo, and traveled back home to Iran to work among the Muslims there.

Passionate about her new-found faith, she  began preaching openly about Jesus who is the Way , the Truth, and  the Life.  Many people in the city where she lived were gripped by her message, and 45 were baptized.  Many miracles took place.  A number of churches, that is —private house groups — were  planted, and the Gospel kept prospering.  This made the Muslim authorities enraged.  The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had clearly warned that, if Muslims in his country, Iran, would become Christian, they would be stoned and killed.

A few months later, one of the pastors in the group was arrested and shortly after, the entire group of new believes were also arrested, among them my sister.  For several months I  had no  contact with Soheila, I was certain she had been killed by the authorities!.

I decided  to fast and pray for my sister for forty days.  Towards the end of my fast, she was suddenly released from prison.  She came with her family to Norway, and we were again reunited. Soheila continues to share her faith with others!

Shoeila with her Family

Shoeila with her Family




Norway – Afghan, Iranian, and Tajiki Believers in Jesus

RK Ulrich 2012(NB! Make sure you scroll all the way down and read the powerful testimony from an Iranian in Norway!)

I have just returned from a two week visit to my homeland, Norway. It was largely personal — celebrating  a family reunion and my sister’s birthday with my siblings and closest family members.  Needless to say, it was a rich and meaningful time!

This visit happened to mark 40 years since I left Norway for the United Sates, which gave me some thoughtful reflections on the many changes my country has undergone over four decades.  Traditionally homogeneous, it has become multicultural with app. 15% immigrants among a population of 4.7 million. Many have come as refugees and asylum seekers. The September 9 Parliamentary election resulted in an unprecedented political shift from left to right.  The oil money has made people prosperous, which has caused materialism and secular humanism flourish. The State Lutheran church which seceded from governmental oversight last Spring, has by and large failed its mandate to be salt and light in upholding Biblical truth, but has rather embraced un-Biblical practices, i.e. same-sex marriage, having made the church irrelevant to many.

Yet, in the grassroots of people I found a groundswell of hunger for God!  In the midst of increased secularization there are encouraging signs that a new generation is awakening to a renewed interest in the Christian faith, but much of it is informal, happening outside the walls of the traditional church. In 2011, the Norwegian Bible Society  published a new translation of the Bible in a more contemporary language.  To everybody’s surprise it was rated number one on the Publishers’ Bestseller’s List, and has remained at the top.  Even more amazing was a unique theater performance I attended by one of Norway’s famous secular stage actors.  Some years ago he had come upon the Bible and  read the Gospels for the first time.  He was so fascinated and inspired by the content that he learned the Gospel of Mark by heart, then in collaboration with his Director did a theater production whereby he stood alone on the stage, dressed in black, and simply recited the Gospel of Mark word for word from memory without any supporting props.  They called it The Gospel of Mark.  They expected it to possibly flop, or perhaps half-fill a couple of performances, that – if  the church people would bother show up.  To everybody’s astonishment, the actor’s brilliant, two and a half hour animated performance mesmerized the audience, brought down the house, and was given raving reviews in the secular press!  The theaters were sold out for months as an unprecedented  75,000 people attended 222 performances!  Later he followed up with The Book of Acts, with similar success. Then followed Abraham’s Children, with the focus on Genesis!  It keeps generating the same enthusiasm as prior productions!

Norway 2013-1079

It was delightful and so special to spend a day in Tveita, Oslo (which population is mostly Muslim) with Peter Dalen, an Iranian minister who leads a group of Farsi-speaking foreign believers with vibrant faith in Jesus Christ from Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan!Norway 2013-1076Norway 2013-1078  I met Peter more than fifteen years ago on a visit to Norway, so it was delightful to meet him again, now with his wife and children.  He invited me for dinner, and afterwards we went to a church nearby where I had an opportunity to meet 20-30 of the believers in Peter’s church group.  Peter had cooked delicious Mid-Eastern food for everybody, so after the love meal, we gathered and Peter gave me the opportunity to lead the Bible study.  It was a real and rich time!Norway Dahlen 4b Raised as strict Muslims, each of them had at some point – many through Peter – had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ!  Spending time with them both individually and as a  group listening to their life stories, I was all over again overwhelmed by the POWER OF THE GOSPEL’S LIFE-CHANGING TRANSFORMATION!Norway Dahlen 3bNorway - Dahlen 6b   They are all aware that, forsaking Islam and embracing the Christian faith, carry very heavy retribution from their respective Islamic governments – certainly persecution, often imprisonment, even death,yet they are standing firmly in their new-found faith!  As we were feasting on the Word of God, it became clear to me that these foreigners who initially entered Norway as destitute, traumatized, and impoverished refugees seeking asylum for a better life, had been sent by God to my country to remind my Viking people, who by and large have forgotten what it means to live a life of dedication and vibrant faith and trust in the God of the Bible, of the magnificence and glory which encompasses Him both as Creator of the Universe and loving Father who so loves every person that He even has the count the number of hair on everyone’s head!  I was reminded of the verses in Revelation 12:10-11!

After I returned back to the States, one of the Iranian believers there sent me his testimony in Norwegian.  Below, I have translated it into English and printed in his own words. I trust Mohammad’s powerful story will be edifying and encouraging in your faith-walk with God!  PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE MEN AND WOMEN THAT THEY WILL BE ROOTED AND MATURE IN FAITH AND HOPE!Norway Dahlen 7b


I was born and raised in the southern city of Bandar Mahshahr in Iran. The town is quite small where most people know each other and everybody are highly committed Muslims. When I was ten years old, my mother died of cancer. I was depressed for long time periods.  My school performance suffered, I

became aggressive, restless, and vengeful toward those who bullied me and making my life difficult. Two years after my mother died, my father married again. After this event, with a stepmother in our home, my problems became more serious. I became even more aggressive, began beating my siblings and received a good deal of beatings myself in my home. I became tired of life and sometimes thought of committing suicide; I even did a couple of failed attempts.  From then on, my siblings did not allow me to be alone on my own.

In school and through committed Muslims among friends and family, I had come to know Allah. The only thing I knew was that if I did not obey him, if I did not participate in fasting and scheduled, routine prayers, I would be faced with his great indignation and anger. It was a common sight to see young people being hung in the streets, women stoned, and people without hands who had been convicted and sentenced by Islamic law.  All this made a strong impression on me, causing me to have nightmares with dreams depicting that the same things had happened to me. I lived in constant fear and felt spiritually like a defeated coward.

A few years ago, I came to know the true God – Jesus Christ!  Caught by the Iranian regime during the period of the Presidential Election when there were mass anti-government demostrations in the streets, I was arrested.  I was beaten badly, then unconscious and bloody thrown into jail.  In that hazy state, I saw a man walking calmly towards me.  He put his hands on my bloody head and muttered something under his breath. After a while when I came to, I discovered I had received an inner peace and strength within me.

The man said to me, ”He has taken on your burdens, pains and weaknesses.  If you allow Him, He will remove all that from you and set you free”. I had never seen anything like this in my life – that someone with humility and love would wish someone else well!

After a few days, I was miraculously set free, and after a few weeks, I met this man in the street. I asked him what he had said to me earlier, what it meant, and why he had said those things.  He was very careful not to talk about this while we were in the street, but invited me to a place where we could talk more easily . First, he wanted to be assured I was to be trusted, so I made it clear to him I wanted to know more.

Eventually, I was allowed to participate in their meetings, and during those times, I became more familiar with Jesus Christ who had given me inner peace and tranquility. I received the Bible as a gift and was told to read it when no one was around.  One day, while reading Genesis, I came upon the verses where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to God. It was quite opposite to what I had learned –  that Abraham’s son, Ishmael, was the one to be sacrified.  It was very interesting, as at the same time, there arose many questions in my head.  I eagerly read further and found that the Bible states that he who blesses Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed. This made me very scared, as it was perfectly normal and natural to shout, ”death to Israel!”. The more I read, the more enlightened I became. I was learning to know the one true and holy God!  A deep reverence of Him filled me. This was not the same oppressive fear which disheartened me when I heard Allah ‘s name mentioned or was reminded of his wrath and judgment. Entering respectfully into a personal and intimate relationship with the Holy God, this fear was an awe and reverence which lifted me up and inspired humility and warmth.

I told my Christian friends that I had a good number of questions about the Word of God and wanted to know more. They told me that it was better to start reading from the New Testament to get a better understanding. The more I read, the more humble my heart and mind became. Jesus Christ showed me grace and mercy while in prison and took away my weaknesses and pain. He strengthened me and opened my eyes to the truth that is in Him. When I heard testimonionies from others on what Jesus had done in their lives, I was filled with hope and life, as I realized that He is the living God with love for mankind, a God who forgives us human beings!

As I became more familiar with Him and His Word, I began experiencing His goodness. I understood that I could be free from my sin and evil deeds and live in    His mercy, justification, and Sonship as His child. By faith and repentance I received Jesus Christ, His glad tidings, and His sacrifice on Calvary. Prior to this I had been a slave to sin, a slave in a society which dictated what to believe and not believe, what to do and not do. A slave who did not have my own free will, not being allowed to think or ask questions. Therefore, I was spiritually sick, not in harmony and peace with myself or those around me, with serious psychological problems with which I did not know how to cope.  When Jesus met me, He gave me a renewed mind which made me look at life with different eyes.  I let go of all that had plagued my mind which had been with me for years.  I, who had been aggressive and vindictive, was  saved and healed by His wounds, and I am forever grateful for his merciful love – a love that wants to give and serve – a love that does not want anything in return .

When I had the flu with pain in the bones and burning throat and headache,  I experienced being healed. I went to our meeting, weak as I was, and my brothers put their hands on me and prayed for me. Then I felt that the disease was lifted off of me ,and I was completely healthy and fit within a few days. For some years, I struggled with repeated nosebleeds and headaches. In another meeting my brother prayed about this very issue for which the doctors had no cure.  During the prayer I felt that fire had been ignited in my nostrils and tears began flowing from the sting of the fire.   After this prayer, I have not had nosebleeds and headaches, thanks to Jesus who sees our illnesses and heals us!

I so wanted to tell my friends and family what I had experienced and share with them the Good News about salvation.  My friend mentioned above, and I packed Bibles and New Testaments into nice wrapping paper.

At night, we threw these packets into people’s houses. Many actually believed that they had received a gift from God and began reading the Book.  We wrote down testimonies and interesting topics from Christian Persian web pages and added them to small toys and chocolate which we wrapped in gift paper and gave to youngsters without revealing who had sent them the gifts.  We had to be careful so that it did not lead to any trouble for those who received the Word of God .

Here in Norway, the situation is different as you do not have the same concerns.  We are allowed to grow in faith and have open fellowship with one another.  I am a member of Gideon whose purpose is also to give people Bibles and New Testaments. I distribute them, especially among Farsi-speaking Iranians and Afghans, then invite them to attend our fellowhip to come to know a different God.

I am a member of a local church in Oslo where I was baptized. My desire and goal is to see my people come to know the love of Jesus Christ and be delivered from the power of sin. I want God to use me as long as I live, wherever I live. I  know that there are still many things I need to learn and  experience because I am still like a child who wants to learn more and more. My greatest desire is to attend Bible college to grow more in the knowledge of God’s Word, that I may one day return to my homeland, Iran, plant a church there, and make Jesus Christ known to my people, that they, too, can enjoy His glorious salvation!