Despite recent statements to the contrary, Jill and Derick Dillard are apparently asking their fans to fund mission work in Central America.
Again. They are Counting On your support!
(Is this thing on? But seriously folks ...)
Under fire for his recent one-sided feud with Jazz Jennings, a transgender TLC star, Derick is already on thin ice with his network bosses.
No one's saying Derick is the new Josh Duggar in terms of his actions, but some observers believe he may be too toxic for TV as well.
Conventional wisdom dictates that promoting missionary work could only help his image, but he's run afoul of fans in that regard as well.
A frequent target of criticism for asking for money, Derick just announced "various missions opportunities I will have throughout the year."
"Including trips for Gospel-advancement and humanitarian work in Northwest Arkansas, North America, and abroad. BIG NEWS!”
Dillard declares in the Pure Charity campaign listing:
“For the next year, I will be serving through a program at my home church, called the Cross Church School of Ministry!"
"I am so excited about this incredible opportunity for further ministry development, and I would like to invite you to share in this excitement with me.”
Taking part in this program, he says, will be "a key asset in not only my vocational ministry, but also in my personal development."
"Every donation is important and will enable me to be present and help others in need. Would you kindly consider making a donation?"
"Also, I would appreciate your willingness to share this with others who may want to partner with me. Thank you so much for being a part of my life."
Jill and Derick announced earlier this month that they would not be returning to Central America again and would not ask for donations.
Well, at least the first part turned out to be true.
Derick's goal is $6,500, of which he's already received $125 from two people. To many, it's quite unclear why they can't fund this themselves.
Regardless, the Dillards are adamant that they're doing God's work, so if they are soliciting donations, well, it's all in His good name.
The couple explained in a statement August 9:
“Guided by much prayer and counsel, we are discerning the Lord leading our family’s full-time ministry back to the United States for the time being."
"Thank you so much for your support of Dillard Family Ministries through your prayers and financial resources," Jill and Derick wrote.
"It has been a joy and blessing to see how our Lord has worked in Central America, and your generous giving has been a huge part of [that]!"
"During our time working with SOS Ministries, we have witnessed God transforming the lives of many involved in the gang community."
The Dillards say that their work is instrumental in "positively influencing the lives of young people for the sake of the Kingdom."
"We understand very well that mission work definitely requires flexibility. This, we have witnessed and experienced first-hand in our years of ministry."
"It is, and always has been our aim, to seek the Lord."
"Above all else. This includes walking in close relationship with Him daily, seeking His direction for our family," the statement continued.
Their goal is "doing our absolute best in everything, namely, being a Gospel witness and Kingdom worker in whatever context He places us."
"At this time, God has seen fit for our family to continue serving him in ministry within the context of Northwest Arkansas."
"Because He Lives, Derick and Jill Dillard (+Israel & Samuel)."
Jill and Derick have come under scrutiny in the past because - critics believe - one of their mission's primary goals is to convert Catholics.
Dillard denied this, mostly, in a blog post saying, “God did not call us to convert Catholics, but God has called us to follow His example."
“He has not called us to convert Buddhists, Muslims, Baptists, Atheists, Mormons, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, agnostics, or Hindus."
"God has called us to Central America to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. My desire is to preach good news to the poor."
"[My desire] is to proclaim liberty to the captives. I have the greatest treasure in Christ, and I want others to know that hope as well.”
Do the numbers back up those comments, though?
Interestingly, the population of El Salvador is 85 percent Christian, as noted by Starcasm; 54 percent Catholic and 31 percent Protestant.
By comparison, their home state of Arkansas is 56 percent Christian, but only four percent Catholic. Hence the healthy dose of skepticism.
Perhaps it was this point, as noted numerous times by fans, that led Derick and Jill to the decision to work at home for the time being.
Also, there's the reality TV filming component. Derick and Jill will be more readily available for TLC camera crews here in the U.S., certainly.
A little extra spending money never hurts, right?