A Mennonite husband and wife's mission work started in the Congo is still flourishing today over 100 years later. Today, the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the fourth-largest population of Mennonites in the world.

In 1912, Aaron Janzen and his wife, Ernestina, went to the Belgian colony of Congo as pioneer missionaries. They arrived in Africa to serve with Congo Inland Mission (CIM), a developing inter-Mennonite organization. Five years later, the first local African Mennonites were baptized. In fact, they baptized 17. 

As their ministry continued, unrest within the nation grew. By the 1950s, native Africans wanted full independence from Europeans.

Not only did they want to remove them as their political leaders, but they also rejected them as religious leaders.  A new wave of Mennonites was on its way. Within 10 years, congregations planted by CIM and Mennonite Brethren missionaries developed into congregations run by local members. They called themselves the Evangelical Mennonite Community (EMC) and Association des Eglises des Freres Mennonite au Congo (AEFMC).

In 1971, the CIM released control and gave the AEFMC leadership of its Congo mission. From then on, it was known as the Communaute des Eglises des Frere Mennonites au Congo.

Reverend Philemon Beghela, lead pastor of All Nations Fellowship Assembly in Winkler, Manitoba, was born on one of the Congolese Mennonite mission stations and sent to a Mennonite school. 

"Missionaries were cooperating with the government and then they were given some officials to come to the village to send kids to school and my dad was recruited. My dad started attending school at the mission station and at that program, you studied for five years, then with the Bible they were trained to become evangelists," Rev. Beghela says.

"To every believer, you are missionaries wherever you go. We have to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth wherever we are, Mennonite or not Mennonite. If we are Christians, we are disciples of Jesus Christ and we need to spread the goodness to everybody," Rev. Beghela says.

According to the Mennonite World Conference, with 225,000 baptized Mennonite church members, the Democratic Republic of Congo's Mennonite population is only rivalled by the United States, Ethiopia, and India.