Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard have made a startling announcement, and it is one their fans were hoping to hear.
People reported Thursday the “Counting On” couple revealed their plans to stay in the U.S., putting an end to the Dillard Family Ministries after living in Central America for two years, working as missionaries.
The pair posted a statement on the Duggar family website, thanking supporters while explaining their full-time move back to their home state of Arkansas:
Thank you so much for your support of Dillard Family Ministries through your prayers and financial resources. 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 making that possible. [...]
Beginning this month, we are discontinuing Dillard Family Ministries and will no longer be accepting donations through this organization. Through a number of circumstances, and 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.
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, and doing our absolute best in everything, namely, being a Gospel witness and Kingdom worker in whatever context he places us.
The husband and wife closed their announcement by letting fans know they will continue to take part in the ministry close to home from now on:
At this time, God has seen fit for our family to continue serving him in ministry within the context of Northwest Arkansas.
While the couple did not get specific about the “circumstances” that led to their choice to stay home, Us Weekly reported Duggar had spoken about feeling afraid while living in Central America during a 2016 episode of “Counting On,” saying:
"Every week, it seems like there would be different instances because Derick would preach one night a week a little distance from our house, so I would be at home alone with Israel. One night, we were getting ready to go to bed, and we heard this loud crashing sound. Derick's like, 'You go in the bathroom,' which is our safe room. We have our laptops, so we were messaging people back home like, 'Pray for us. We don't know what's going on.’”
Duggar and Dillard returned home for the birth of their second son, Samuel Scott, who was born in July, joining his big brother, 2-year-old Israel.