‘It’s Not A Vacation’ — Jill & Derick Dillard, Duggar Missionaries, Deny Claims

In a recent TLC video, Jill and Derick Dillard are responding to some of the criticism they’ve received about their time in Central America. While they say it’s a long-term mission trip, critics have called it a vacation and complained that the couple makes too many trips back to Arkansas. Even fans have expressed concern now that Jill Dillard’s second pregnancy has been announced.

Since Jill and Derick left for Central America, their motives have been questioned, with some viewers saying the couple shouldn’t be asking for donations to travel, especially if they’re treating their second home as a reality show set and getting paid to do it.

Hollywood Gossip reported in February that Jill and Derick Dillard had asked for 600 families to donate $40 each — a total of $24k — to fund the remaining ministry expenses for “this term.”

It’s worth noting that Jill is pregnant and the baby is due in July, and she and Derick have already announced they plan to return to the U.S. for the birth.

Thus, while the couple doesn’t define exactly what length they are calling a “term,” it appears they are asking for $24,000, more than some families in the U.S. live on for an entire year, and planning to fly back in a few short months.

Critics are accusing the family of “missionary tourism,” a phrase that the Gospel Coalition describes as one who,

…participates in missions for self-aggrandizing reasons. She goes on trips to appear compassionate, to “experience” another culture, to improve her résumé, or to feel good about herself.

However, in a TLC video released this week, Derick answers questions about the Dillard family’s trip, asserting, “This is not a vacation! That’s not why we’re there. Honestly, if we were looking for a place that’s nice to go, Central America, at least the part that we’re in, wouldn’t be on the top of our list.”

However, even as Jill describes the hardships, such as the lack of a dryer and the tendency of the running water to sometimes not work, she also adds, “We have a washing machine, though.” The couple also occasionally speaks of their wifi access, which they say can be spotty and unreliable, as they share screenshots of their toddler enjoying video chats with the Duggar family back in Arkansas.

Though the Dillard and Duggar families typically only refer to Jill and Derick’s mission location as being “in Central America,” People reported in 2015 that the couple was in the Republic of El Salvador, a country whose name literally means “Republic of the Savior.”

Derick goes on in the video to say that the real purpose of their trip is to bring the gospel to those who would not otherwise hear it.

In El Salvador, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, about 57 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, with another 21 percent Protestant. Only about 16.8 percent of the population reports no religious belief — a number comparable with what a Pew Research poll found in the U.S. in 2015.

In other words, Jill and Derick Dillard would find about the same percent population in the U.S. as they share their beliefs within El Salvador.

Jill Dillard also revealed a rather unusual brand of evangelism in a recent blog, describing an incident that sounds as though she simply quizzed some kids on religious knowledge, and, finding them deficient, handed them a tract and left them to figure it out.

“I know these girls have heard the gospel before, but when I asked them specific questions about what it meant, they couldn’t answer. I left them with a gospel tract and told them when we come back we can talk further.”

What’s your opinion on Jill and Derick Dillard’s mission trips, and their donation requests?

[Featured Image by Derick Dillard/Instagram]

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