FROM R.K.’S CORNER
In 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.
In 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.
In 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’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 EDVARDSEN – THE GOSPEL TO A NEW GENERATION
Rune 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
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!
TROENS BEVIS – 2016 SUMMER FESTIVAL IN SARON’S DAL, NORWAY
It 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!