Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard Share Mission Update, Ask For Prayers As They Minister in Region Wracked by Gang Violence

( [email protected] ) Aug 06, 2015 11:35 AM EDT
Former "19 Kids and Counting" stars Derick and Jill Dillard have updated fans on their latest adventures in El Salvador and asked for continued prayers as they minister in the region, which is wracked by gang violence.
Jill and Derick Dillard pictured with their son, Israel David, in this photo shared on their family blog. Dillard Family Blog

Former "19 Kids and Counting" stars Derick and Jill Dillard have updated fans on their latest adventures in El Salvador and asked for continued prayers as they minister in the region, which is wracked by gang violence.

"During the last month, we visited many villages and town squares where we performed dramas and programs, evangelized, helped lead a couple youth conferences, organized a regional soccer tournament, met with government officials to discuss pressing issues, worked on construction projects, and made home visits," Jill writes in a lengthy update shared on the Dillard family blog.

The 24-year-old Duggar daughter also shared an inspiring story of witnessing one local come to Christ.

"In one of the cities we visited, I and a translator friend of mine talked with one lady who seemed very hard hearted. However, midway through our conversation her friend came up behind her and started crying. When the first lady walked away, her friend stayed and talked with us and after sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, we were so excited to see her come to faith!"

Jill revealed that she has been spending time with the local ladies at the church she and her husband have been attending while Derick ministers in the villages. While learning Spanish has proved to be a challenge for the Arkansas native, she says her 4-month-old son, Israel David, is adjusting much better.

"One day, I was at the church while Derick was hiking to a remote village so I took advantage of the opportunity to learn some more Spanish," she writes. "I grabbed my notebook and pen and, while the little kids were playing with Israel, I asked the local ladies lots of questions, 'What is this?', 'How do you spell it?' etc. It's not easy learning a new language, but one day soon, I pray I'll be able to communicate fluently and even dream in Spanish! I think Israel will pick up on it faster than us though...he is already becoming a local as he loves to nap anywhere there is a 'hamaca' (hammock).'"

Jill explains that while she loves watching her husband "help lead teams, preach to the local believers and love on the people here," she has become increasingly aware of the gang violence prevalent throughout the region.

"As many of you know, there is a lot of unrest in the countries here in Central America," she writes. "The gang violence has been something we have been very aware of, especially during the last month. We have seen Isaiah 61:1 come to life, 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.'"

Because the locals are constantly exposed to gang violence and the reality of eternity, they are more open to receiving the Gospel, Jill asserts.

"We have had the opportunity to minister to several gang members and even see some come to freedom in Christ! One of our main focuses while we're here will be to provide ways for the people in these communities to be educated and/or have work so the kids won't follow their parents footsteps. Because of the violence and fear in some areas we were in, people face the frequent reality of eternity and are more open to the gospel because of it."

In concluding her update, Jill said her family will return home to the United States for a brief time next month before heading back into the mission field.

"Please continue to pray for wisdom, safety and our ability to learn the language, as well as for the people here in Central America, that God will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light!" she writes.

Meanwhile, back in Arkansas, the Duggar family are continuing to enjoy their lives despite the cancellation of their TLC reality show, "19 Kids and Counting."

Jessa Duggar, who is expecting her first child with husband Ben Seewald, recently shared an Instagram photo of her growing baby bump and another of herself cradling her newest niece, Meredith Grace.

Baby Meredith, who was born on July 19, is Josh and Anna Duggar's fourth child, recently joining Mackynzie, 5, and brothers Michael, 4, and Marcus, 2.