Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard are desperately keep trying to convince fans that they’re making a real difference in El Salvador, which is where they’re currently living as missionaries. However, whenever Jill and Derick share an update on the work they’ve been doing, critics are always quick to fire back with accusations that their mission trip is really just a money-making scheme.
According to the Hollywood Gossip, Derick Dillard’s most recent Instagram photo is the cause of the latest controversy. He shared a snapshot of local women selling jewelry, and the vague wording he used to caption the picture led some of his Instagram followers to believe that he and Jill Duggar are pocketing a portion of the profits from the sale of the necklaces and bracelets.
“Jewelry on the display table this weekend made by local women to sell as part of our ministry. #economicempowerment #praiseJesus,” Derick wrote.
Derick did not respond to his Instagram followers’ requests for more details about the jewelry sale when they asked him for clarification about what he meant.
“By stating that the jewelry made by the women to ‘sell as part of [your] ministry,’ do you mean they are selling it to make funds for your ministry?” one of his followers asked.
In their most recent mission trip update, Jill Duggar and her husband shared a few more details about how they’re using jewelry to bring people to Jesus. According to Derick, if impoverished El Salvadorans study the Bible with a local pastor, their reward is getting to learn one of two skills that might help them make a little money: making jewelry or cutting hair.
“Each week, after a time of Bible study lead by a local pastor named Max, there is time devoted to skills development that enables people, who are otherwise unable to produce an income, the means to provide for themselves and their families,” Derick writes on the Dillard Family website.
Even though Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard probably got paid pretty handsomely for starring in the TLC reality series Jill & Jessa: Counting On, the couple has never said that they are using any of their own money to fund their mission trip, and it seems as though they’re also using other people’s money to pay for the jewelry-making supplies.
“We have partnered with another local believer named Ruth, who is skilled in teaching crafts. With supplies generously donated from the Church in the US, Ruth is teaching about 20 women how to make a new piece of jewelry each week,” Derick writes. “Once these women have completed Ruth’s teaching program, they can then employ their newfound skill to strengthen themselves and their communities.”
In other words, the women aren’t making and selling jewelry to fund Jill and Derick’s mission trip.
While the women learn to make jewelry, Jill Duggar watches their children and teaches them about the Bible.
Critics of the Duggar family have been suspicious of Jill and Derick’s long-term mission trip ever since they announced it in a blog post last June. Jill and Derick set up a non-profit called Dillard Family Ministries, and they included a link to a donation page at the bottom of their mission trip announcement. However, the Duggar Family Blog later reported that S.O.S. (Seekers of Souls) Ministries had provided Jill and Derick with their missionary training, and Derick revealed that S.O.S. set them up in the cozy house that they’re shown living in on Jill & Jessa: Counting On.
S.O.S. Ministries has its own donation page on the SOSHope.org website, so it’s unclear why Jill and Derick set up a separate non-profit and website to collect donations. Fans of the Duggars and Dillards are likely sending donations to Dillard Family Ministries, not S.O.S. Ministries, when Jill and Derick’s photos of impoverished El Salvadorans tug at their heartstrings and make them want to help.
Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard still have not disclosed any detailed information on how they spent the money donated to Dillard Family Ministries, nor have they explained why they are still accepting donations through the nonprofit now that it’s public knowledge that they’re being supported by S.O.S. Ministries.
[Image via TLC]