Raquel Contreras’ heritage is Baptist from both North America and South America. Her father was Chilean while her mother was appointed as an international missionary from the USA to Chile in 1945. She was nurtured in the Christian faith from the time of her birth, but made her personal commitment to Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour as a twelve-year old girl, also dedicating her life to Christian ministry at that time. As a young person, Raquel was active in the missions organizations of her church.
Allowing God to direct, she attended and graduated from Universidad de Concepción Law School in Chile before marrying Guillermo I. Catalán, a Chilean pastor. Pursuit of theological training took them to the United States for eight years, after which they returned to Chile. While her husband served as pastor of Iglesia Bautista Ñuñoa and President of the Seminario Teológico Bautista de Chile, Raquel worked alongside him in ministry.
Following his untimely death in 2000, she served as one of the editors of the Baptist Spanish Publishing House in El Paso, Texas, USA. Raquel has two adult children: Esteban and Paola.
Missions has been a life-long commitment for Raquel. She has served as president of the Chilean Women’s Missionary Union; she has also served as vice-president of the Latin American Women’s Department. Bilingual in Spanish and English, she has served as a translator for Latin American leaders at BWA-Women’s Department meetings. In 2003 Raquel was elected president of the Baptist Convention of Chile, and later vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and president of the Baptist Union of Latin America. While she is grateful for her personal growth in leadership and global ministry, Raquel’s love for working with women has been a life-long interest.
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