Varas, Daniel Humberto Contreras
Daniel Humberto Contreras Varas is a Global Missionary with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
Daniel is a member of Segunda Methodist Church in Iquique, Tarapaca, Chile. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Arturo Prat University and a Bachelor of Theology at Comunidad Teologica Evangelica de Chile (Evangelical Theological Community of Chile), Concepcion. He has served as a pastor in Los Ángeles, a chaplain’s assistant at Coronel Methodist Industrial High School and an English teacher at Saint Joan College, all in Chile.
His first missionary experience as an adult was with the Logos II ship with Operation Mobilization. He translated for 10 days while the vessel was docked in Arica. He also participated in Youth in Mission in Latin America.
“I come from a Christian home, being fourth-generation Methodist,” Daniel said. “I found my own faith at 17 in an international retreat for young Christian leaders. Growing up in a conservative society, I used to think that spirituality and religion were lived only within the frame of mainstream church. When I had the opportunity of sharing with people from different traditions, creeds and nationalities, it opened my mind to a comprehensive approach.”
Daniel continued, “The Aymara and Mapuche peoples, indigenous to Chile, offer a deep source of knowledge and spirituality that missionaries and the Methodist Church in Chile understand and work within accomplished ministry.
“For 13 years, my parents served the church through educational programs such as Emana, in the north and la Obra Rural (rural work) in the south of Chile.” He recalled his parents taking the entire family and driving for hours to host Sunday school and a hot meal for the Mapuche children. His father would go into the high plains of the Andes to care for Aymara children in a boarding school.
“I had a happy childhood,” Daniel said, “worth remembering, because everything we did was serving others and sharing the word of God.
“My calling to mission,” he said, “comes out of love for people. Christ lived a perfect life serving others, and he set the example of a God who lives humbly among those who suffer most.”
He and his wife Karen are eager to model servant leadership for their two children.