Martin C. Friesen, minister and farmer, was born on October 6, 1889 in Osterwick, Manitoba. He was the fifth of 12 children born to his parents, Cornelius P. and Katharina (nee Friesen) Friesen. He received an elementary school education in Osterwick, then studied theology on his own. He was baptized in 1909 and became a member of the Chortitzer Mennonite Church. In 1911 Friesen married his step-sister Elizabeth Wiebe. Their marriage produced seven children, four daughters and three sons.
Martin Friesen was ordained as a minister In 1924. He served for 44 years. During these years he is most known for leading a large migration of Bergthaler and Chortitzer Mennonites from Manitoba to Paraguay in 1927.
In Paraguay Friesen brought about important reforms in both church and school and was able to maintain unity in the colony. He died on the afternoon of April 7, 1968 after attending communion.