Ragnhild (“R.K.”) Marie Kjeldaas – Born, raised, and educated in Norway. In 1973, while teaching in her homeland, she received a Fulbright scholarship to attend an eighteen month post graduate work-study research program on Dewey’s American philosophy of education at the University of Hartford, CT with a group of 12 educators from various European countries. in 1974, after the completion of the program, R.K. was invited to move to Upstate New York to help establish a private grade school for a community of young people who had come out of the hippie movement into faith in Christ. R.K. accepted the call, founded the school in the barn’s toolshed. She remained administrator and teacher of the school for six years, at which time the school was acknowledged by the Albany State Educational Department as the best private school in its category in the State of New York. Short of 40 years, the school is still in operation.
In 1981, R.K. moved via Florida to Germany where she administrated the children’s department at a German East European Mission who focused on providing relief aid and production and delivery of Bibles and Christian educational material for the persecuted, underground believers behind the then Iron Curtain. For two years, she helped produce the material and traveled as a courier behind the Communist borders where she personally encountered the suffering believers face to face. Then, she received a vision of a bridge spanning between the United States and the Soviet Union with the commission to “be a bridge – don’t build one”– don’t build a organization with costly overhead, but rather serve and network with those believers with vision and passion to reach others with the love of Jesus in the nations. It caused R.K. to move back to the States, where, in 1983, she founded The Bridge International in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with supportive co-workers from abroad and her local church at home.
Steven Ulrich – Born in Peoria, Illinois, but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After college, Steven returned to Fort Lauderdale where he became a successful entrepreneur. In his mid-twenties, after coming to faith in Jesus Christ, he became a philanthropist with a passion the help resource the gifts, talents, and vision of those who were serving others with the Gospel. He decided to live a frugal lifestyle, while generously funding a number of Christian church leaders and projects and in his local community. After reading Richard Wurmbrand’s “Tortured for Christ”, Steve’s focus shifted – he wanted to find ways to help the suffering believers living behind the Iron Curtain with his resources. He began to search for a venue through which he could funnel funds and be assured they would reach those for whom they were intended. In 1985, Steve and R.K. met over their mutual burden of serving the believers behind the Iron Curtain
We were married in April 1987, and brought to our union the unique combination of know-how within missions, education and entrepreneurial business. During the last twenty six years, we have been doing business with one arm and mission work with the other.
The Bridge International is a “loaf-and-fish” mainstream evangelical, pioneer ministry with the motto, Linking God’s People to Reach the Unreached. With a small overhead, together with our many excellent co-workers and partners, we have been been quite effective in many emerging and unreached nations as we have come alongside and served national believers in their propagation of the Gospel. Our main purpose is that the Gospel be preached and apprehended among the unreached peoples of the world! In 1991, the Iron Curtain fell and the Communist countries opened up for the Gospel. Shortly after that historic event, we were instrumental in sending hundreds of Christian believers overseas from Western countries to share their faith among the younger generation of Russia, Central Asia, and all of the East European nations. In addition, we reached young people in several countries in the Balkans, i.e. Croatia, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia. In the wake of those efforts, today there are strong, self-supporting indigenous churches who keep on serving their people with the love of Jesus. Steve became passionate about providing the Word of God – the Bible – to all those new believers overseas. During the nineties when we were engaged in major pioneer evangelism in the countries mentioned above, he was instrumental in building partnerships with other ministries and businessmen who helped finance the printing and distribution of millions of New Testaments in a number of languages.
Our focus is on helping those who do pioneer evangelism, church planting, and Bible-based leadership training. We also help support the mercy ministries of the new churches as they reach out into their local communities with the compassion and love of Jesus. For example, we helped with relief aid to the widows and orphans in Kosovo after the Balkan war, and assisted in establishing micro-businesses and drug rehab center in most of the countries in which we serve. Currently, we are equal partners with other low-cost ministries who are doing effective work and serving the indigenous church in places where the resources are less and the needs are greater.
You will find background information on the partners and projects we sponsor by clicking on the PDF ARCHIVE button above and scroll till you find the description of the person or project you are looking for. These prior years’ Bridge Reports are ready for download and printing.