A history of CPM/DMM in the INSTAR initiative in Latin America and the latest Quarterly Reports from the INSTAR initiative. These reports show continued exponential multiplication!
Every 3 months Strategy Coordinator Keith Travis compiles a tracking report of the Disciple Making Movement in Latin America that WME has been facilitating for the last 10 years. This report is based on Data that is accumulated by the Honduran Catalytic team of leaders that we call the “Vision Team”. These seven men and their wives are giving their lives to see the gospel become available to all people in their nation, and throughout Greater Latin America. While this report is largely from Honduras, there are also groups and churches in the report from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador and Argentina. In addition to Keith, Randy Travis is serving as the Training Coordinator for INSTAR. Other national leaders and missionaries are focused on South America.
But what does this report mean? Later in this article, I will be sharing the current amazing statistics in this movement. But what is the story of the INSTAR movement?
In 2006, Randy Travis and I were exposed to the DMM strategy by David Watson. I (David Parish) had previously heard of the strategy the year before in a Perspectives class taught by Jerry Trousdale. But when Randy and I received the training in September 2006, I believe the Lord birthed a vision to see a movement happen in Honduras. Simultaneously, in Mexico, God spoke to Keith Travis and his wife Juanita and told them that theywould be going to minister in Honduras. Out of that calling, the INSTAR strategic team was born. After nearly 2 years of research and laying the groundwork, Randy, Keith and their wives began to train a small team of Honduran leaders with whom Randy had shared the vision with, and whom he had interviewed, as he picked a team to become a part of launching of this outreach initiative called INSTAR. The first training in DMM strategy began in May 2008 and beginning in July 2008 they began going into the villages of western Honduras, looking for people of peace and starting discovery bible studies.
The first 3 years of pursuing this ministry were a trying time, with a lot of learning and relearning. Others were also trained and began to apply the DMM principles. There were times of going forward, and breakthroughs as well as times of setbacks as the team discovered how to do Disciple Making in the Honduran culture.
Randy Travis Sr relates some of the following examples: (used by permission)
“When we first started one of the biggest mistakes we made was adding new people to an existing Discovery Bible Study (DBS) group. We were trying to grow the DBS until it became large enough to become a local congregation of believers. However, this tactic stopped multiplication dead in it’s tracks. David and Paul Watson corrected this for us on their visit to Honduras when they came to do some advanced mentoring with our team. It was basically a misunderstanding on my part as to how DBS’s become local congregations. To see a movement birthed, and maintained as a movement, one has to always be asking; is this tactic that we are using going to enhance multiplication or hinder multiplication? In other words, one must intentionally do those things that facilitate multiplication. We learned that you don’t “add” new people to an existing DBS but you start a new DBS with those new people. Usually they become interested because of someone they know who is already in an existing DBS. So, encourage that existing DBS to start another DBS with those interested people. Later on several DBS groups can unite to become a local congregation.
Another problem we encountered was the mobilization factor for starting new DBS’s. Multiplication depends on mobilizing more people to start more DBS’s. One day while on the phone with Paul Watson and discussing the problems we were encountering doing the DBS studies in written format, Paul suggested we try doing them orally. That is, doing them in just a discussion format. The scripture passages could be recorded and played for the DBS group or someone could just read the passage for the group. Afterwards an oral discussion, utilizing the DBS format, would follow the reading of the passages. That was the basic idea of doing the DBS’s orally.
Even after trying different things we were still struggling to get any real traction. Especially, in the multiplication of the DBS groups. We had been praying for the Lord to give us more persons of peace so the studies would multiply and to show us the way so we could see rapid multiplication, thus exposing many more people to the gospel.
We began to realize the problem was tactical in nature. Simply put, our way of implementing the DBS principles in Honduras via written format was not going to work very well in that culture. That conversation with Paul was a key turning point for us. It gave us a new tactical way to look at starting and multiplying DBS’s. We could record the biblical passages, then have a DBS discussion about the passage. However, the problem still remained as to how we could train people to do the studies orally in a discussion format. That is, how can we mobilize any and every willing person to start DBS’s? How could we best empower them to do so? Even doing the studies orally would require big amounts of one on one mentoring and training, to mobilize others to start new DBS’s. In addition, they would have to be encouraged and pushed along to actually start the DBS’s. Therefore, wide-spread mobilization was an obstacle to overcome.
One day, I (Randy) was contemplating the different issues we were facing. I was thinking through the different issues that cropped up in doing the studies orally, with recorded biblical passages, when suddenly the Lord gave me the idea of recording the ENTIRE DBS format, including the biblical passages. If we did this then the training and mentoring would be greatly reduced. All we would need to do is train people on how to use a tool that would play the recordings for the DBS group. They would be empowered to start DBS’s with a minimal amount of training. This could have many great benefits. The implications were enormous. It would reduce the skills needed to facilitate a DBS. It would eliminate the problem of maintaining the correct DNA in the DBS, because the DNA was now “built into” the recorded format, so to speak. But, would overcoming these obstacles make mobilization easier? I surmised it could intrinsically spur motivation to start new DBS’s. Hopefully that would prove out to be the truth.
So, began the process of choosing the recording tool we would use and the process of training people on how to use that tool in the field, as a mechanism, to start new DBS’s.
I had already concluded that employing such a tactic would be a time saver in terms of mentoring people to facilitate a DBS. The hope now was that it would speed up the multiplication process at the same time. This would result in more people being exposed to the saving gospel. It was easy to see potential facilitators could now just focus on how to operate the device as opposed to learning the entire DBS format by memory.
So, by going to a recorded format we hoped to eliminate many of the problems and obstacles that doing it written, or orally, had intrinsically created.
Probably one of the greatest things we discovered was that by going to a recorded format we would be basically empowering EVERYONE to start DBS’s. The quiet personality person would now, hopefully, be willing to start a DBS, whereas before, they were too shy to do so. Or they did not “feel” qualified to facilitate a DBS. Even the person who could not read or write could now start a DBS. The more educated would find it to be a very simple process to learn and they would also hopefully utilize the recorded format to start DBS’s. Thus even among the more educated the DNA would be preserved and training time also reduced. Since education level is not necessarily correlated to a person being shy the recorded version of the DBS’s would also empower the shy personality even if they had a higher education level. Hence, my grandest hope was that the multiplication potential would be increased dramatically for ALL, the educated and the less educated. The hope was that even MORE mobilization would follow the initial use of the recorded format. At least, these were the ideas. They had yet to be tested in the “real world” environment of starting DBS’s.
So, we first started with this recording process by scripting it out and recording some of the studies on a simple cassette recorder. Next we tested a trial run in the field using cassettes and cassette players. The results were immediate! Immediately, people were excited about doing the DBS’s in this manner and the multiplication of DBS’s took off. It was then that we decided to do a more formal and better quality recording of an entire evangelism series of DBS studies.
So, using multiple sources of chronological studies as a foundation Randy, Keith, Linda, Juanita, and the vision team, through much study and discussion, hammered out a potential script for each study. These scripts would become the evangelism series. While drawing from multiple sources on how to do this we also encountered the need to modify and to add to this preliminary framework of DBS studies in order to better deal with specific needs in the Honduran Culture. In other words, a generic set of DBS’s (while a good starting point) would not suffice in our context. Certain particular obstacles to evangelism in the Honduran context had to be overcome. Once the entire set of scripts were finished the next step would be recording the studies for use in the Honduran culture.
David Parish with WME arranged for the recording to take place in Kentucky. We recorded the scripts by utilizing the voice of Martin Elio Ricci Rosas a Mexican who I had previously discipled while living in Mexico. He had an excellent voice to use for the recordings. WME brought Martin to Kentucky. Tom King in Kentucky helped us to get the DBS’s recorded in Spanish using Martin as the spanish speaker with myself and David as the general overseers of the recordings. Later I spent weeks editing the recordings and formatting them to work on the cassettes.
We returned to Honduras after the recordings were finished and began, in earnest, employing the new tactic of recorded DBS’s. We at first did so by recording thousands of cassette tapes with the studies on them. Hundreds of tape players were bought and later deployed. We trained willing people on how to use the tape players so they could facilitate a DBS’s. The results were immediate.
By the end of 2011 well over 150 DBS groups had been started. Many were learning and coming to Christ. Soon after that the groups began multiplying exponentially in the hundreds and thousands.
Another surprise came from the Lord. David Parish, by Divine Providence, came across a small pocket digital player called a Megavoice. He showed this apparatus to us. We decided to give it a test run. I (Randy) formatted the recorded studies to work on this device and after field testing the feasibility of using the Megavoice as a tactical tool we were greatly encouraged because it appeared to worked well for all age groups, AND all educational levels. So, we promptly said “goodbye” to the cassette tapes and players after viewing such positive results from testing the Megavoices in the field. We have since deployed thousands of these Megavoices in the field and trained thousands of people to use them. David Parish has worked very hard to raise the funds to deploy this large number of Megavoices and to see the entire INSTAR initiative financed. He has worked tirelessly promoting this initiative. Without his efforts I would dare say there would be no movement today. Together David, Keith, and I and our wives have discussed and hammered out strategies, tactics, and modifications.
Over the last few years the team has trained and mentored hundreds of people directly and indirectly through mentoring chains.
I was the strategy coordinator for the first few years. By the end of December 2015 we had reached around 2,800 groups and in January 2016 Keith took the job of being the strategy coordinator and the general field overseer and I became the training coordinator. This change allowed me to focus more on developing training materials and putting the DBS’s in other languages to reach even more people for Christ. Keith has done an excellent job as strategy coordinator and we have seen the fruit increase exponentially as the report below will show. It is not an easy task being the field coordinator and dealing with the issues that can crop up as a movement expands exponentially. I know as I was the strategy coordinator for several years.
I think we have been blessed and very fortunate to have our wives be 100% behind us in this initiative. Without a doubt, without their cooperation and input, the entire initiative would have failed. Of this I have no doubt. So David, Keith, and I can be grateful for our wives and their complete support in this initiative AND their valuable advice. Thank you Patty, Juanita and Linda!
The growth continued almost like it had taken a life of it’s own. We readily recognize that the Lord Jesus had imparted favor and life into this outreach initiative called INSTAR. In 2015 we trained a group in Argentina in DMM principles. A year or so after the training, two tribal leaders of the Wichi Indians, with the help of Rubén Herrera (an Argentinian radio pastor) recorded the script into the Wichi Indian language. I then went to Argentina in 2016 and edited the recordings for final production with the two Indian leaders. Then I formatted the studies to work with the Megavoice and we tested them. After some more in depth training by the Honduran Vision team, Keith, David, myself, and some follow-up training by Damian and Oscar Praniuk and their wives, a DMM movement was birthed among the Wichi Indian tribe in Argentina. Many have since been saved and baptized among that tribe. It is absolutely incredible what God is doing as we obey Him.
In addition, to the work among the Wichi tribe in Argentina, work is being done translating and recording the DBS’s into the Guaraní language. So, soon we hope to see some DBS’s started amongst the Guaraní Indian tribe in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Some more good news is that The First Series (the Evangelism Series) is almost recorded and completed in english. I am working with trying to get an APP developed so the recorded DBS’s can be implemented via a smart phone or tablet as well as the Megavoice.
DBS’s have also spread to Ecuador and other places through the efforts of Julio Rodriquez. Our hope is that this expansion and advance of the Kingdom of God will continue exponentially and that multitudes upon multitudes will come to the saving grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that they will become obedient disciples to Him.
As can be seen by this condensed history of the INSTAR Movement in Latin America it has taken the efforts of many people, who were willing to obey the Lord, willing to work hard, willing to sacrifice, to see this happen. Needless to say, without the Lord Jesus directing, leading us, and pouring out His blessing, life, and favor upon this outreach initiative it would have been a complete abject failure, regardless of our efforts.
I am SO SO thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to have been a part of this initiative and for the abilities He has granted me to be able to do my part in His service. May the Honor and Glory be His as He loved us while we were yet sinners Romans 5:8-11.” (End this history sharing by Randy Travis Sr)
Thus is the condensed history as told by Randy Travis of how the INSTAR initiative got started and progressed in the beginning years up to the present.
At least 50 denominations have used the training and bible studies in their recorded format on the Megavoice machines. Groups have multiplied and continue multiplying. New teams have begun work.
By mid 2011 there were about 166 groups and 61 of them were churches. People began to come to the Lord.
One thing that is most exciting is the fact that the work is now penetrating these several tribal groups as well as the general population. There is now work amongst the Miskito, Tawakas, Tolupanes, Garifuna, and Pech people groups in Honduras.
Keith Travis Jr. relates some of his thoughts: (used by permission)
“I would like to take this moment to recognize the efforts of the pioneering founders of the work that was started through the HCPM portion of the INSTAR Initiative, that to date, has seen 8,430 groups and churches started with the majority coming from the quarterly reports of the Vision Team in Honduras. This is where it all began for us as a team and we are grateful to the Lord for using us to see His kingdom expand.
The founding team are David and Patty Parish, Randy and Linda Travis, Keith and Juanita Travis, Adiel Ponce, Daniel and María de Ortega, Jacobo and María de Hernandez, Oscar and María de Hernandez. Later on God added to our team Carlos Andrade, Mario and Tesla de Mejía, Rigoberto and Rosa de Colindres. Rigoberto and Rosa were discipled and trained by Pete Mulder and his wife (Christian Reformed missionaries) back in the 1980’s. In 2009 Pete Mulder sent Rigoberto to be trained by us in DMM principles in a small training we held in Honduras.
We are grateful to David and Paul Watson, Jerry Trousdale and others who first introduced us to these concepts and ideas and mentored us along, in one way or the other, thus helping us to get started.
We also want to recognize others who formed part of the original vision team in Honduras but for whatever reason had to leave. Nery and Francisca de Aguilar, Adán and Sagrario de Bú, Wilfredo and Dina de Nuñez, Ever Hernandez, José Esteban Hernández, Udiel Rosales, Luis Galeano, Edin Lemus, Martires and Margarita de Inostrosa, Jose Fransisco Alvarado Hernandez and Daniel Mendoza. Daniel Mendoza was another brother that was discipled and trained by others whom Pete Mulder and his wife (Christian Reformed missionaries) had discipled back in the 1980’s.
Some of the above people have since been able to come back on the team in one capacity or another and are working in conjunction with the Vision Team and other have just continued in the ministry on their own. I believe that it is fitting to recognize, Francisco Mendez and Octavio Mendoza, the two tribal leaders that translated the DBS studies to the Wichi language in Argentina, previously referred to by Randy Sr.
We also want to recognize all the people who have joyfully and sacrificially given AND prayed faithfully to support us in this work of God. None of this would have come about without your important contribution. So many people have been faithful to help since the beginning that we cannot list every name. God knows who they are and they will share in the reward. Thank you so much!
We praise God for using broken people to see His Kingdom come. Although we know that God uses people to bring about His plans and desires we are continually conscious that the power of salvation is of God, His Word, His Spirit and not of man. The power of salvation is in the message of Christ. Nevertheless, God has chosen to partner with people to see His Kingdom advanced. If people don’t do their part God won’t do His part. Even though He could, He simply won’t, because he has chosen to see His Kingdom advance, as people obey His commands. (As we all continue to do things the way God wants them done He will continue to reward us with God results).” Keith Travis Jr. (End of Keith Travis Jr. thoughts)
As we report results we want to make one thing abundantly clear. God alone receives all the glory for this work. Only God can open the eyes of a person, reveal Christ to them, and give them new birth. God is working through the faithful prayers of the intercessors. God is working through the pioneers of this INSTAR initiative. God is working through the faithful giving of financial supporters and churches and foundations. God is working through the diligent oversight of the Strategy Coordination and Training team. God is working through other partner missionaries and leaders who come alongside to help. God is working through the faithful and courageous Honduran Leadership Vision Team, the seven leaders who along with their wives have risked their lives to make disciples in some very dangerous and difficult areas. God is working through the leaders and teams that the Vision Team is mentoring and training. God is working through the Megavoice studies. But the main thing is that it is the power of GOD that is working through His people to see the message of Christ’ saving gospel spread throughout Latin America! He is building His church as we are making disciples. In the end all honor and glory belongs to Him! He is King of kings and Lord of lords!
Now for the current statistics. We share these to give glory to God, and to faithfully let the prayer warriors and financial supporters know how God is using their faithfulness.
1st Quarter 2018 (January-March)
835 New Groups and Churches
3,294 New people attending Bible Studies
3,095 New Professions of Faith
3,027 New Water Baptisms
On average between January-March there have been:
8.7 New Groups birthed PER DAY
36.6 New attendees PER DAY
34.388 New Professions of Faith PER DAY
33.633 New Water Baptisms PER DAY
Glory to God, this is the greatest advance in any 3 month period in the history of the INSTAR initiative.
Here are the total numbers we are counting:
Total Groups and Churches: 8,430
Total People Participating: 43,818
Total Professions of Faith: 30,908
Total Water Baptisms: 27,326
This movement now has 19 generations.
So this is the snapshot of the progress in The Greater Latin America INSTAR Initiative at the end of the first Quarter 2018. We ask that you continue to pray for everyone involved in this work as they continue to focus on finding people of peace, starting discovery groups, and helping people become obedient followers of Jesus Christ.
We hope you enjoyed reading this brief history of INSTAR and that together we can rejoice for what God is doing!