Both David and his wife, Kaswera, were born and raised in Christian families in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Together, they have three boys, Baraka, Chris and Steve. David’s father received the Lord when the first missionary from the USA arrived in the East of Congo in the early 1900s. He learned to read and write, accepted the Lord, and served as pastor for over 60 years until he was promoted to glory in 1996.
David earned a Master’s degree in geography and education in Congo in 1980, then served as assistant manager in a private company for two years before the Lord called him to full time Christian ministry. In 1982, David left his job and served for two years as a teacher and chaplain in a high school. David and his family joined Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) in 1984, where he graduated in 1987 with a Master in Divinity. After NEGST, David served as Coordinator of the department on Ethics, Society and Development of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA). During that time, he traveled extensively in the continent of Africa holding seminars with African pastors and theological educators to deal with issues that churches and societies face in Africa. In September 1989, David and his family joined Trinity International University (TIU) in Chicago, Illinois, where he graduated with a PhD in New Testament.
Kassie trained as a nurse in Congo. While in Nairobi, Kenya, she got her diploma in Christian Ministries and Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology and received her Master of Religious Studies at Trinity in 1993.
Upon their return to Africa, David served for two years as a faculty member and eight years as President of Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST), equipping pastors and Bible teachers for churches in Africa. During that time, Kassie served as a faculty member teaching in the Christian Ministries program. She enrolled in the PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University in 1998 and graduated in 2006.
While serving at NEGST, the Kasalis were torn by the war situation in their country, DRC, and felt called by the Lord to help rebuild lives, families and communities through holistic ministries with churches from various denominations. Together, they created Congo Initiative, which has both a Congolese and US board. Soon after leavingNEGST, the Kasalis moved to the States for three years of preparation and relationship-building in an effort to lay a solid foundation for the establishment of Congo Initiative as a non-profit organization.
The Kasalis used these years in the States to build partnerships with churches, institutions, and individuals who would come together to support the growing vision and goals of Congo Initiative. While in the States, the Kasalis were based in Brookfield, Wisconsin, where David served as part-time pastor at Elmbrook Church, one of Congo Initiative’s most significant church partners. David and Kassie also took short-term mission trips with US Christians to various ministries in Congo. Additionally, David served as an adjunct faculty member at Phoenix Seminary, in Phoenix, Arizona.
After three years of service and preparation in the States, the Kasalis relocated permanently to DRC in 2007 to formally inaugurate Congo Initiative’s Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC – The Bilingual Christian University of Congo), which now has over 650 alumni! In 2019, Dr. David Kasali transitioned from his role as Rector to give his full attention and energy as President of CI. The Kasalis now make their home in Beni, North Kivu Province, DRC.