Jill Duggar and husband Derick Dillard are headed back to Arkansas this week to attend cousin Amy Duggar’s wedding to Dillon King on September 6. This will be the couple’s second trip from Central America to the U.S. in less than 30 days, as they continue to ask the public for donations to finance their travels.
Although Amy Duggar promised that the entire Duggar family would be coming to her wedding, it is unlikely that her cousin, Josh Duggar, will be there. Josh checked into a volunteer work and Bible study program in Rockford, Illinois, on August 24, due to his public confession of sleeping with prostitutes and an addiction to pornography.
In July, Jill and Derick took their baby Israel on a short-term trip as volunteers with S.O.S. Ministries of Clearwater, Florida (not to be confused with the much larger SOS – Students Offering Support – of Toronto, Ontario, which operates extensively in Central America). The Dillard family joined a group of other American volunteers on a tour of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala from July 5 through August 4. All volunteers must pay their own airfare and they also pay for room and board at the ministry’s facilities. For the Dillards, the cost was about $5,000 for the month.
Mike Schadt has been a friend of the Duggar family since 2006, when the Duggars first started volunteering in El Salvador for a week in December. Segments of the visits were seen in several episodes of the now defunct reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. Schadt was also seen on the Duggar family series as the officiating minister when Jill’s sister, Jessa, married Ben Seewald on November 1, 2014.
The main base of operation for S.O.S. Ministries is in a small compound in El Salvador called La Esperanza, which means “the hope” in Spanish.
The volunteers mainly visit churches in the area, perform skits, sing songs, and conduct activities for children. Jill reported on the Dillard Family Blog that, during the month volunteering with S.O. S. Ministries, she and a translator converted one woman to Christianity. That was the only conversion the Dillards have reported for their missionary efforts in Central America. The population of El Salvador is already 85 percent Christian, compared to the U.S. with a 70.6 percent Christian population.
Jill Duggar, husband Derick Dillard, and their baby son Israel flew back to America with the other volunteers when the tour ended on August 5. They were sighted in New York City on August 15 with Jill’s sister Jessa, her husband Ben Seewald, and Michelle Duggar, presumably taping a short segment for TLC’s documentary about child sexual abuse which aired tonight on the network. Breaking the Silence includes a clip of the sisters attending a training session for volunteers working with abuse victims and their parents.
On August 18, the entire Duggar family – including Jill Duggar, Derick Dillard, and baby Israel Dillard – were in Knoxville, Tennessee, attending the wedding of Michaella Bates and Brandon Keilen. After the wedding, Jill’s sister, Joy-Anna, and her friend, Carlin Bates, returned with the Dillard family to Central America. With no short-term volunteer projects scheduled for S.O.S. Ministries until December, the group went to Guatemala. On the Dillard Family Blog, the couple told their supporters on August 5 that they intended to study Spanish “for the month.”
The group was sighted in Guatemala shortly after arriving on their flight from Tennessee. Yesterday, Derick Dillard posted on his Instagram page that he had received his diploma for a Level 1 Spanish course. There was no mention of Jill’s studying Spanish.
It is believed that Derick was studying at the Christian Spanish Academy in La Antigua. According to the school’s website, “Originally, CSA was created to meet the needs of missionaries who come to Guatemala to learn Spanish.”
Two days ago, Jill posted a short video clip of herself pushing her son Israel on a merry-go-round in what looks like a deserted playground.
It is unknown how long Jill Duggar and husband Derick Dillard will remain in Arkansas, or if they will do a quick turn-around and head back to Central America. The young couple has not been candid with their supporters about what exactly they are doing south of the border and how the funds they are raising are being used.
After police reports were published in May which revealed Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse of four of his sisters and another minor child in 2002 and 2003, Jill and Jessa were interviewed on The Kelly File on Fox News. They both said that they were two of the sisters subjected to Josh’s sexual molestations when they were young children. When that interview aired, Derick Dillard quit his job in the tax accounting department of Walmart, stating, “I have recently accepted a position outside of Walmart and am no longer working for the company.” But there has been no indication that he actually had another job. Instead, he and Jill filed papers to set up a non-profit company on June 17, Duggar Family Ministries.
They posted on their blog that they were going “overseas” for mission work. Instead, they went to Central America as volunteers at the same place the Duggar family had always volunteered once a year. Interestingly, S.O.S. Ministries seems to have a job opening posted on its website.
Perhaps Derick is hoping to learn Spanish to apply for the position in Guatemala. Usually, however, it takes more than a few weeks to become fluent in a foreign language.
Will you support Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard and help fund their continued visits to Central America? Please scroll down to leave your comments below.
[Intro photo credit: TLC]