There’s plenty of drama around the Duggar family’s mission team, Jill and Derick Dillard, and their time in Central America. Anti-fans of the Duggar show, lifestyle, and politics feel that the couple isn’t actually ministering to anyone, merely taking a vacation on the dime of donors. Others decry the “white savior” complex and say it’s inappropriate to enter a place with rich culture and try to convert the locals. Meanwhile, Duggar fans praise the pair for their efforts.
The latest drama over the Duggar missions, though, isn’t about what the Dillards are doing in Central America: it’s about whether they’ve lied about when they’re going back.
The subject arose on the popular Duggar fan (and anti-fan) page, Pickles and Hairspray, among other places.
“The Dillards said they would be back in Central America by now. They lied.”
There have definitely been indications that the Dillards might stay in the Duggar home of Arkansas longer than they originally said they had planned. However, Duggar detractors dove in to debate whether the couple was misusing donated funds after Duggar-in-law Derick tweeted about being at the airport in San Fransisco.
Perfect timing! Happened to see this just hours before arriving at the San Francisco airport! https://t.co/n4Wp2Yg5OK— Derick Dillard (@derick4Him) December 7, 2016
@Ascramber no, but I would love to. San Francisco seems like a neat place with great people. Just had a layover this time— Derick Dillard (@derick4Him) December 8, 2016
The larger question, though, was did the Duggar family get caught in a lie about the length of the visit?
Did the couple say they’d be leaving the Duggar family home for Central America before now?
The fact is, there have been reasons to wonder whether the pair might change their plans. Jill Duggar Dillard spoke of fearing for her son in Central America.
There’s also a post on the Dillard Family page, declaring that this will be Israel’s
“…first Christmas here in the states!”
That sounds a lot like the Dillards plan to spend Christmas at the Duggar home.
So, what was the original statement given to Duggar viewers?
In the blog Jill Duggar Dillard shares with her husband, they declared the following back in July.
“…we will be returning in August for a short stateside term that will extend into the fall.”
What one would consider a “short term” is, of course, subjective, but “into the fall” isn’t. The first day of winter is December 21st — unless and until they’ve remained at the Duggar home past that date, Jill and Derick’s statement isn’t inaccurate.
If they stay through Christmas, of course, as the social media post implies, then that doesn’t exactly fit with “into the fall,” but could indicate a change of plans, rather than a deliberate falsehood. It’s also possible they intend to celebrate Israel’s first U.S. Christmas early, with the Duggar family and return to Central America afterward.
As for Derick’s trip, with the stop in San Fransisco, though he has spoken about it across social media, he hasn’t yet mentioned where he’s headed, to the consternation of Duggar watchers.
However, if it’s related to the show, which returns in January, there’s no reason to believe that Duggar missions donors are funding his trip. It could easily be a TLC-funded trip to film material for Counting On. It’s hardly rare for Duggar family members to share photos without full context, only to reveal more later on-screen.
The Duggar son-in-law has already addressed, to some extent, their further plans and the use of money Duggar fans have donated. He reassured viewers that donated funds are being applied directly to ministry (though without supplying any more specific accounting), not to travel, and said that, while visiting the Duggar home, he has been working odd jobs to support his family.
What’s the verdict? It doesn’t seem the Dillards have left the Duggar home to return to Central America, and they seem to plan to spend at least part of the Christmas season with the Duggar family. However, at this point, they’re still within the plans they originally stated. If those plans change, that doesn’t make the original statement a lie — plans do change.
With Zika still a concern, many fans and anti-fans alike hope that if Jill Duggar Dillard becomes pregnant, the couple will indeed rethink those plans.
[Featured Image by TLC]