Is Derick Dillard planning to put even more distance between himself and his in-laws? The former Counting On star says he and wife Jill Duggar would be open to moving abroad in the future. The couple currently resides in Arkansas but spent time living in Central America after they married. They’re apparently interested in continuing their missionary work, but their past efforts in that area have been controversial.
Derick Dillard and Jill Duggar spent time as missionaries in Central America
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Derick, 31, and Jill, 29, wed in 2014. A year later, they decided to move abroad on an extended mission trip.
“God placed a desire in our hearts to serve Him internationally for longer than the typical short-term mission trip, but we didn’t know how God would fulfill that desire in us,” the couple wrote on their family’s website. “At the beginning of 2015, just before our first child was born, God brought about an opportunity much earlier than either of us was expecting.”
Derick subsequently quit his job at Walmart and he, Jill, and their son Israel moved to Central America in June 2015.
Derick and Jill’s mission work was controversial
As missionaries, Jill and Derick hoped the “light of the Gospel would pierce the darkest areas of Central America, places gripped by poverty and hunger … places where the present spiritual forces of evil have been at work for far too long,” as Derick wrote on the family’s blog.
But some Duggar family followers weren’t sure how much work Jill and Derick were really doing in Central America. The couple solicited donations to Dillard Family Ministries to fund their mission. But critics quickly noticed they were spending a lot of time traveling, making several trips back to the U.S.
“Honestly, how do you call what you do ‘missionary work’?” one person commented on the couple’s Facebook. “Begging for thousands of dollars in donations so you can go to a 3rd world country (and travel back and forth every couple months) to ‘try’ and convert people that already believe in God?”
In August 2017, the couple announced they were ending Dillard Family Ministries and pursuing a “new direction in ministry.”
Derick says he and Jill are open to moving where God leads them
After returning from Central America, Jill and Derick settled back into life in Arkansas. They welcomed their second child, Samuel, in July 2017. Derick worked for a church in Arkansas and in August 2018 graduated from the Cross Church School of Ministry. Shortly after, he began law school at the University of Arkansas.
Derick is still working toward his J.D., but he is also looking to the future, he said in a recent interview with The Sun. The dad of two revealed that he and his wife are open to moving abroad if that is where life takes them.
“Our original plan from the time we married was to serve permanently on the international mission field,” he said. “So, yes, we are definitely open to moving wherever God would lead us.”
However, it doesn’t seem likely that a move would happen in the near future. Derick still has one more year of law school to complete.
In the meantime, the rift between Derick and Jim Bob Duggar seems to be widening, with Derick telling The Sun his relationship with his in-laws is seriously damaged.
“We hope and pray God would restore relationships where there is brokenness,” he told The Sun. “But, at the same time, we recognize that only God can change people’s hearts and bring healing.”
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