By Holly Rasmussen
Are Jill and Derick Dillard missionaries or moochers? That’s what a lot fans and critics of the former 19 Kids and Counting stars have started to ask recently.
As we previously reported, Jill and her husband, Derick left for Central America two months ago to go on what they said would be a long-term mission trip. The couple asked fans to donate to their tax-exempt organization, Dillard Family Ministries, to help support the adventure. However, the Dillards’ recent activities have made some donors question how the couple is actually spending their donations.
Since leaving for Central America on July 5, Jill and Derick have returned to the United States twice, visiting New York, Tennessee and Arkansas. In a September 10 blog post, Derick explained that their most-recent trip home was so the couple could attend the wedding of Jill’s cousin Amy Duggar. Their previous trip was made so that the Dillards could go Michael Bates‘ wedding. Derick also stated that he, Jill and their son Israel will be staying in Arkansas for a month to “enjoy time with family and friends.”
Many fans are livid that the money they donated to go toward the Dillard family’s mission work may have been used for family vacations. Some donors have taken to the Jill’s public Facebook page to express their outrage over what they feel may be misused funds.
“Are you for real?” asked one fan. “You left in July for missionary work and in the three months you have been back twice and airfare is thousands! Now you are staying for a month to enjoy family and friends? You are not missionaries; you are grifters asking people for money so you don’t have to work.”
“It’s so obvious that you pick and choose what to allow on your Facebook page,” another wrote to Jill. “Like not answering us as to where our donations are being spent. It’s just like you pick and choose the scripture you want to live by!”
After Jill posted a photo to her Twitter and Instagram of the people she is working with in Central America, stating that her “heart aches” for them, fans tweeted her in outrage.
“Your heart aches but all you do is tell them that their beliefs are wrong and take selfies with them. How is that helping?” one Twitter user asked.
While Jill and Derick may have used their own money for travel expenses, neither currently have a job outside of their missionary work. Derick quit his job at Walmart to go on the mission trip, and the couple is no longer receiving money for appearing on ’19 Kids and Counting.’
The couple has not responded to questions about how they are spending the donated money, and the Dillard Family donation page is still up and running. In June, Derick posted the following message to the page, asking for donations.
“If you feel led to support our mission effort we would be so thankful to have you as a partner,” he wrote. “You can give here on our website. Your prayers and your support both mean so much to both of us as we begin this great chapter in life!”
Jill posted an interesting video last month to her Instagram, showing what she and the other missionaries have been doing while in South America. It really is must-see TV: