Jon & Mitsue (Mitsy) Mahar
Jon and Mitsy's home areas are worlds apart, Maine in the northeastern U.S. and Fukushima in northeastern Japan. - Mitsy is a graduate of Prairie Bible Institute in Canada, but they did not meet there. Jon has been a missionary in Japan since 1974, but they did not get to know each other in Japan. They were introduced by a mutual friend (by letter!) in 1985 at the end of Jon's first year of seminary in Maryland. Mitsy was in Japan at the time. So they got to know each through many (!!!) letters and cassette tapes.
Through this "long-distance learning," Jon and Mitsy discovered that they shared a deep desire to help Christians grow in their walk with the Lord through the use of quality Bible study materials. So they began working on their first set of studies together by correspondence before they ever met. When Jon returned to Japan in 1986, they finally had their first date, Jon proposed, and they were married a few months later. They have been happily working on Bible studies together (in English and Japanese) ever since.
Jon was saved while studying engineering at the University of Maine in the early 70's, and is a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute, New Brunswick Bible Institute, Citadel Bible College, and Capital Bible Seminary. Mitsy was saved as a junior high school student in her home church in Fukushima, Japan. The church was started by Baptist Mid Missions missionaries.
A Creative Mission
FIM is a conservative, evangelical, non-charismatic mission with its American headquarters in Allentown, PA. Members are nearly all from independent Baptist or Bible churches. Most FIM missionaries, including the Mahar's, are involved in church planting. (Please check out the mission's website.)
That said, FIM encourages its members to use their gifts to their fullest, even if that involves developing special ministries not usually associated with starting new churches. In Jon and Mitsy's case, this has led to a special emphasis on the creation and translation of Bible study materials. All of the Toa Ministries materials have been developed and tested in local church settings.
Fellowship International Mission
555 South 24th Street,
Allentown, PA. 18104-6666
Toa Ministries is the name that the Mahar's use on their Bible study materials. It is not an official mission. The Toa materials are all free and contributions are not solicited. Those who wish to support this work, however, may do so through the Mahar's account at FIM.