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When a Shaman Attends Bible Teaching

Two Mengen men sitting by a house

A Mengen Shaman

When Lourens and Marie Laureti first moved into the Mengen village in Papua New Guinea, Topa Tamana didn’t stand out in their minds. But it didn’t take long to learn that this introverted man was one of the village shamans, a man with great influence within the community, whose status also resulted in wealth.

"As I studied the Mengen language and culture,” Lourens wrote, “I witnessed him practicing many rituals and soon realized that it would not be easy for him to turn away from his position and follow Christ. It would come at a price!”

Topa Tamana being baptized

Trusts in Christ

And then the foundational, Creation-to-Christ teaching began, and Topa Tamana, his wife and kids attended all the lessons.

“It’s ... not strange for these shamans to attend teaching like this, as they hope to find more secrets to manipulate the spirit world,” Lourens explained. “But this time around God touched their hearts, and both Topa Tamana and his wife placed their trust in Christ. ... [But since] he did not continue to follow his old ways, ... he lost his status and income and was often accused of angering the spirits due to neglecting his role as mediator.” 

This did not deter Topa Tamana.

“Over a 10-year period, Topa Tamana faithfully attended the teaching sessions and responded in obedience as we discipled him. He became one of the faithful older men in the village who helped me evaluate our curriculum, and he played a key role in discipling and shepherding the church. ... Even though he was not officially appointed as a deacon, he functioned as one and was recognized and appreciated by the church.”

Topa Tamana

And Now Meets the True Mediator

Recently, Topa Tamana died. As Lourens reflected on the life of this man, the stark contrast of his life before and after salvation stood out in his mind. “[At salvation], he transitioned from being a mediator between the Mengen people and the dark spirit world to trusting in the True Mediator. And now he is meeting Jesus himself!”Pray for missionaries as they learn the culture and heart language of people groups around the world, share God’s message of salvation with them, and walk beside them until they are part of thriving churches.

Posted in Asia-Pacific, Mengen People, News, Papua New Guinea