Jon & Sonnet Barr

Serving at the YMI Home Office


After being with YMI at its beginning, Jon sees his return to YMI as God bringing him full circle in his professional life.

Jon serves as the Executive Director of Training Development.


“I am excited to have the opportunity to use my background in business, youth, and cross cultural experiences to further the goals and mission of YMI.”

Jon grew up in Peoria, Illinois.  In 1983 he received his BA at Calvary College and in 1987 completed his MRE with a focus on youth ministry at Liberty University.

It was at this time that Dr. Randy Smith hired Jon for a two-year youth ministry residency program at Thomas Road Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. After completing his residency Jon moved to Kenya, East Africa where he found his calling for working with youth internationally. In Kenya, Jon helped train youth leaders and also setup the first international Center for Youth Ministry. 

Following Jon’s work in Kenya he assisted Randy in starting YMI and served as the Director of Operations for 5 years. 

In 1996 Jon joined United World Mission. He served in the mission’s home office for two years where he met his wife Sonnet, and together they moved to Moscow in 2001.  He and Sonnet developed a ministry, which utilized the platform of providing professional training and coaching to business persons and working with youth at Universities and English camps. 

During a short term trip to Moscow Russia in 1995 Sonnet was moved by the dedication and focus of cross-cultural workers.

Upon returning to the U.S. she resigned her position as the top Regional Sales Manager for a four billion dollar corporation in California and moved cross-country to North Carolina to serve as Director of Financial Development for United World Mission, a non-profit mission organization. There she met and married Jon who took her back to Moscow where together they established a ministry targeting young professionals as well as others among the younger Russian generation. 

They also used English camps and programs to minister to university students. The goal of the ministry in Moscow was to plant churches among the millennial generations of Russia.

We ask you pray with  us concerning the following:



Please pray that our Russian family will not feel we are deserting them as we move to Kentucky to begin work in the home office.
Pray that supporters see our moving stateside as our/their ongoing Global footprint and continue their financial support.
Remember that our Big God goes before us and that we not stress over all the details of on international move.