Celebrando 50 Años
October 16, 2015 • Spanish
Lilibeth Contreras de Castro has been described as a pillar of faith in the Latin American community where she lives. She gives all the glory to God.
“Since I met Jesus 30 years ago, I have seen his hand guiding my life and leading me all the way,” she testified.
Contreras, a wife and mother, lives in El Salvador. When she first became a Christian, Contreras was looking for strong biblical teaching to nurture her faith.
She started listening to La Hora de la Reforma (“The Hour of Reformation”), a radio program hosted by Rev. Juan Boonstra. Boonstra launched the first Spanish-language radio program forReFrame Ministries (BTGMI) 50 years ago.
“I still listen to La Hora today,” says Contreras. “The topics are still very relevant. What I learn inspires the work I am doing today.”
An award-winning journalist who has worked in radio for the past 20 years, Contreras is passionate about addressing the issue of violence against women. Her ministry intertwines with BTGMI and Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM); she said God used these agencies to equip her to lead her own ministry.
La Hora de la Reforma, now hosted by BTGMI Spanish-language leader Rev. Guillermo Serrano, still has relevance for people all over Latin America, noted Contreras. “The program is truly reforming others in their faith.”
Contreras met Serrano at a 2008 BTGMI communications conference in Panama.
“Our Spanish team offers media training for professionals and church leaders throughout Latin America. These workshops prove to be an effective way of building bridges for media ministry,” Serrano explained.
By attending the conference and meeting Serrano, Contreras gained a new opportunity for speaking to victims of domestic violence.
Upon learning of her ministry to women, Serrano invited Contreras to write two devotional booklets for BTGMI: Women and Community and Women and Violence.
Through their ministries, both Serrano and Contreras have addressed the issue of violence against women—an ongoing problem in Latin America. Contreras, a long-time reader of the BTGMI Spanish-language devotional Cada Dia, was grateful for the opportunity to share stories of faith and hope for victimized women.
Contreras, who facilitates evangelistic small groups in homes, said, “Women have approached me to tell me of their difficulties at home, at work, and in their family.”
While taking advanced studies through the Centre for Interdisciplinary Theological Studies (CETI, a program of theological formation directed by James DeBorst) Contreras, and colleague Carmen Castro created the Association of Integral Support for Women (ASIMUJER).
“We have sponsored health campaigns and partner with professionals who provide advice for women who are victims of domestic violence,” she said.
Ruth Padilla DeBorst, who serves with her husband James as CRWM staff in Latin America, said Contreras is “a model of the integration of her faith and her profession as a journalist.
“She is a leader in Christian radio programming and the church at large. Her studies with CETI were instrumental in helping her enter more fully into her vocation as a Christian journalist.”
Through her radio program, Contreras addresses women’s issues as well as topics related to life, health, the environment, human rights, children, and more. “My work is a wonderful experience in that I am able to communicate messages of hope and address topics of everyday life with listeners,” she said.
She receives information and inspiration from BTGMI Spanish-language radio and TV programs that address these issues from a biblical perspective. “Back to God Ministries has been an influence in my life from the late 1980s,” she said.
“After I became a Christian, these programs helped me develop my faith and my understanding of Scripture in the midst of society and caused me to reflect on the various areas of my life.”