Mara Iyama - Translator and Literacy Trainer

In 1980 the Gadsup New Testament was dedicated and 25,000 people received their translated New Testament. In 2008 we decided to revise the Gadsup New Testament and I am working on this revision. Now, in 2010 literacy and Scripture in Use is still going on.


I attended Akuna Community School and completed grade six. After that I went to Christian Leaders’ Training College (CLTC) for three years and received my certificate in leadership in 1982.


I married in 1983. My wife and I are blessed with four children: Gaius, (born 1984), working in Port Moresby with an Electrical Company; Gladys (1986) – deceased; Masi (1988), in grade 8 at Professor Schindar Community School; and Ignas (1989), in grade 8 together with his sister Marsi.  


After my studies in CLTC I worked with a Church in my village and I helped in the translation and literacy work with the SIL couple working in Gadsup.


In 1984 I attended a two-week Tok Ples Prep School (TPPS)Teacher Training Workshop in Ukarumpa conducted by a lady from North Solomons. After that I went back to my community and spent all my young life teaching the kids in the village. I enjoyed my life with the kids and the community but at the same time I struggled through many problems and difficulties.


After ten years with my Gadsup people I was selected to attend the Strengthening Tokples Education in PNG (STEP) Course in 1994. When I first came to the STEP course I thought it was the end of my problems and hardships but that was not the case.


When I was doing my practical assignment in Module four, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident which ended in me being jailed for fifteen months for the accident I caused on my Honda Trail 90 motorcycle. Even still literacy was in my heart even though I was a prisoner; I taught literacy to the Gadsup inmates. Being in prison didn’t stop me from the ministry that the Lord has blessed me with.


After my release from prison, I came back and finished the course I was taking before the accident. Later I joined the STEP staff in Ukarumpa. Being a STEP participant, mentor and staff member of the STEP Course has unveiled me from the cloth of shame and weakness – in thinking that I’m not fit enough in doing things. Now I have confidence and courage in conducting the STEP training. I realised that what you have heard and learned will build up your confidence and strength for your future. STEP has given us the tools to use in our communities, districts , provinces and the nation of PNG for the glory of God.


Now, I am the only national person teaching in the STEP Course. I also go around PNG helping BTA run literacy workshops in Language Programmes. 


A very special thing that God has taught me in life was when my twenty year old daughter died from some kind of sorcery. The Lord Almighty filled my heart with peace when my relatives and the whole community suspected two men from the village and wanted to retaliate.  Pay back is a Pidgin colloquialism by killing these two men. They came with all kinds of weapons and bush knives to attack these two men, but I stood in the middle of the people and said, “This is my daughter who died and it’s my ‘hevi’ problem and I have the last words to say before you do anything. Jesus died on the cross of Calvary and forgave our sins and in the same way I also forgive these guys for what they have done to my daughter. Let them go and don’t harm them.” The entire community got mad at me because they wanted to kill these two men.


That time God’s peace and forgiveness was a real experience in my life. God has taught us how to forgive others through Jesus Christ so when people do wrong things against us we must know that revenge is not ours but let God do it for us. 


Thank you very much that your prayers and support will make a big difference in the lives of my Gadsup people.