Introduction / History
The 1,500 Anjam people live on the Rai Coast in Madang Province. They take great pride in their language. Tok Pisin is the main language spoken in the country, but Anjam is the most prestigious language in the area. There are two Anjam villages on the coast, and two inland. The languages spoken in these four villages are virtually identical. However, Anjam bears little resemblance to the nearby languages.
The people maintain their own gardens for subsistence, relying on such things as sago during times of drought. Lack of proper technology keeps them from doing much fishing in spite of their proximity to the Bismark Sea. Their houses are made of wood and have tin roofs. The rainy season is a full six-months. They make bilum bags to carry anything from beetle nut to babies. They walk, use public motor vehicles, or a small boat (dinghy).
Syncretism is widespread among the Anjam. Christianity and Animism are often used as a means to an end. Often witch doctors are sought first to heal sicknesses. Prayer by the pastor comes later when magic does not work. This makes doing statistics on the group difficult because three-fourths of the people come to church, but there are probably less than fifty true believers. Before missionaries came in the 1880s, the people were strictly animists who feared spirits and worshiped ancestors. Still much of this goes on both behind the scenes among the churched and by unbelievers out in the open.
One need is for good biblical teaching to accompany the newly published Scriptures due to the high levels of syncretism. Literacy is also a need because the people still have difficulty reading at a high enough level to comprehend all that is contained in the Scriptures. One possible solution is to record the New Testament on tape. Robert and Diane Rucker, who translated the New Testament, are currently seeking ways to fulfill this goal.
What Are Their Beliefs?
After the Lutheran mission started in 1887 there was a rapid growth of Christianity, which lead to the firm establishment of the first churches. Since then Christianity has become ritualistic in nature. Many people combine the animistic rituals of witch doctors with the prayers of local pastors for healing. Some people have been antagonistic toward Christianity, seeing it as the "white man's" religion. Others have been indifferent to Christianity all together. There are few people who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
They have the New Testament in Anjam, and the whole Bible in Tok Pisin. The Psalms are currently in progress in Anjam.
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