Isabél Contreras was living la vida loca – the crazy life. Raised in a religious family in southern Mexico, Isabél rejected it all and became an atheist at 14. She explored satanism during high school, drank heavily and embraced a lesbian lifestyle, even working as a same-sex prostitute for three years in Mexico City.
"I was so full of rebellion and disobedience that my Mum booted me out of the house when I was only 14," Isabél shares sadly. "I did such despicable things! One day, my mother came to my house and said, 'You are no longer my daughter. I disown you.' I continued with even more vengeance in my sin."
This messed up rebel was the most unlikely person on earth to become a travelling speaker.
But, at age 21, she found Jesus and everything changed.
"Someone told me that God loved me," Isabél relates. "It was beyond my understanding that anyone could love me. I had to find out about this God who loved me and I found the Lord."
No one had to tell her to stop having sex with women or drinking heavily. "I was convicted by the Holy Spirit who told me all this was wrong," Isabél recalls. "I cut out everything that was ungodly and followed the Lord."
After her conversion, Isabél invited 25 of her friends to a dinner and told them that she was a Christian. After inviting them to church, she announced, "You are welcome to join me ... Otherwise you can pretend you never knew me. The old Isabél is dead."
Her lesbian friends were not happy with the drastic change at all. They hired a girl to try and seduce her, but Isabél resisted the temptation.
"I knew I would never go back into that life," she says. "I knew my decision was to follow Jesus."
Thus began an unusual journey for a woman who has become a respected speaker in a male-dominated country marked by its machismo.
Sharing the gospel, the good news, is not easy for Isabél, even though she has travelled for 20 years telling others the good news of salvation (the story of Jesus coming to earth to save us from our sins). Sometimes, when she visits a new city, she often learns that she is the first woman ever to preach the good news.
Now 54, Isabél has planted two churches, spoken in every state in Mexico, and travelled to five other nations to tell others the good news of what God has done for her.
She has become especially popular among women. Her plain appearance and brutal honesty wins over her audience who love that they feel accepted by her, and not threatened.
could love me”"I know what some of you ladies are thinking when you see me," she tells them. "You think I look like a dyke. [She doesn't wear heels or fancy dresses and doesn't style her hair.] But that's okay, because I don't care what people think about me. I am going to keep looking at Jesus until I look just like Him."
One day, Isabél's mother came to her church. She stood up the front and told the whole congregation, "This is my daughter and I am very proud of her."
"I believe my homosexual struggle began at age 11," Isabél says about her earlier life. "I was only 11 when an older girl molested me in a dark closet. I believe some women turn to lesbianism because they have been raped or abused by men – and therefore they view sex with men as painful or traumatic."
This problem is especially serious in Mexico, where domestic abuse has become an epidemic and the rate of femicide [killing of women] is one of the world's highest.
"While I view homosexuality as sin," Isabél states, "I only have compassion for people who struggle with same-sex attraction as it is often rooted in abuse."
She has counselled countless people who struggle with their sexual identity and offers God's healing, not only to them, but to Christians struggling with various sins in churches everywhere.•