Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard have revealed when they are returning home to Arkansas to visit their families, and they’re excited about coming home for a few weeks. However, there’s an aspect of living in El Salvador that the missionary couple will miss while they “continue to work in ministry” during their time back home. According to Jill’s husband, he and his wife are “thrilled” that they are allowed to evangelize young children at public schools in El Salvador.
In a short post on the Dillard Family website, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard revealed that they are returning home next month. However, their stay will not be permanent.
“We are so excited to share that we will be returning in August for a short stateside term that will extend into the fall,” Jill and Derick wrote.
“We are really looking forward to seeing our families after nearly 10 months on foreign soil. We plan on taking some Bible classes as we continue to work in ministry from the US. Serving in Central America has been an amazing experience so far for both of us (and Israel!).”
According to Derick Dillard, the “work in ministry” he and Jill Duggar are doing in El Salvador includes going to local schools and trying to convert young children to their preferred brand of fundamentalist Christianity. Derick recently shared an Instagram photo that he snapped at a school in El Salvador, and he revealed that he was there to “share the Gospel” with the schoolchildren.
“What a blessing and joy it’s been to have the freedom to share the Gospel in public schools. #centralamerica #dillardfamilyadventures,” Derick captioned the photo.
A few of Derick’s Instagram and Twitter followers criticized him for doing something that he would not be legally allowed to do in America.
“I don’t have a problem with ministering to children. I have a problem with them ministering in a PUBLIC school, where kids may already have their own religion, and might not have any other options for schooling,” one of his Instagram followers wrote. “Some of us value separation of church and state.”
“We have ‘sharing the Gospel’ here in the U.S., too. IT’S CALLED CHURCH. School is for academics,” another critic tweeted.
However, if members of the GOP get their way, Derick Dillard and Jill Duggar could eventually take what they learn during their Bible classes and repeat it to elementary school students in the U.S. According to the Washington Post, the Republican Party has added a new plank to its political platform that “encourages public high schools to teach elective courses about the Bible.”
One of the provision’s key supporters, Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins, has a connection to the Duggar family. Josh Duggar once worked as an employee of the FRC, but he was forced to resign from his position last summer after he confessed to sexually molesting Jill Duggar and three other sisters as a teenager. As People reports, Perkins publicly slammed Josh for engaging in “deceitful behavior” a few weeks after his resignation when it was revealed that he had cheated on his wife, Anna Duggar.
According to Perkins, the Bible should be taught in public schools because he believes students “can’t really fully understand the American form of government and society without some understanding of the Bible.”
As Gawker reports, Jill Duggar’s schooling included Bible lessons. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar taught their children using a controversial Bible-based homeschooling program created by Bill Gothard, an “alleged cult figurehead” who has been accused of sexually abusing his followers. Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (ATI) curriculum includes a lesson on dealing with sex abuse that suggests victims are to blame for their own abuse if they dress “immodestly.”
Many of the kids Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard are proselytizing probably haven’t heard of Bill Gothard, but they’ve likely heard plenty of Bible stories. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Department of State, 51 percent of the population in El Salvador identifies as Roman Catholic and 33 percent as Protestant. However, Patheos points out that Jill and Derick are employees of S.O.S. (Seekers of Souls) Ministries, an organization that allegedly aims “to take down the powerful and wealthy Catholic church in Central America.” In other words, Jill Duggar and her husband may view Catholic schoolchildren as souls in need of saving.
[Image via Derick Dillard/Instagram]