Long-time missionary, Nathan Rasmussen, recently spoke in Uvira, Congo, just over the border from Bujumbura, Burundi, at the graduation ceremony for one of their 20 diploma-level Bible schools in East Africa. Pictured here are just 30 of the graduates. Nearly 25 percent of the graduates were sick and unable to attend, with three students dying of their illnesses before graduation.

“Life in Eastern Congo is rough,” says Rasmussen. “People live day to day with war, sickness—and now Ebola.” The Congo, however, now has a new president and people are hopeful that things will improve. Noting that physical conditions have changed little since he first visited the Congo 36 years ago, Rasmussen also pointed out that the Gospel has continued to spread and churches have continued to grow despite all the turmoil.

Rasmussen reports that the work of training East African ministers has expanded, especially in the area of missions mobilization and training—as has the need for additional resources and finances. “Somehow we need to increase the net as the work continues to grow,” he said.

On his way to visit Uvira, Rasmussen conducted a 2-day seminar for 13 prospective missions school students from Burundi. So far he has seen 97 graduate from their missionary training schools, 28 of whom are now working among unreached people groups and 4 others working in the African churches, stirring them to do their part in answering the Great Commission.