After learning Derick Dillard recently left his job as a Walmart accountant, we now know the next step for Derick, wife Jill Dillard, and their baby son: The couple announced this weekend that they are leaving for a long-term mission abroad in July.
“God has put a desire in our hearts to serve Him internationally for longer than the typical short-term mission trip,” Derick said on the family blog. “Several months ago a new opportunity arose for us to serve God on the mission field….After much prayer and seeking Godly counsel, we realized that taking this opportunity and moving overseas in order to serve is the best option for our family.”
Derick said he doesn’t expect the mission will be easy with a young child, but explained it may actually be better to go now than “when our roots are deep and we’re more comfortable in life.”
Derick requested prayers and donations from those who “feel led to support our mission effort.” (You can donate through their website.)
As for where the couple is going, there has been speculation that Jill and Derick would return to Nepal, the site of his last long-term mission, ever since a devastating earthquake struck the country in April. However, Derick said their plans for this mission have been in motion since earlier this year, seemingly well before he “shared this decision with my manager” in May. Although that doesn’t disqualify a return to Nepal, it means they probably made the commitment before the earthquake — as well as before the “Duggar Scandal” exploded in late May.
The announcement also seems significant in terms of 19 Kids and Counting‘s future. With the return of the show as we knew it apparently out of the question because of boycotts from major advertisers, there were reports that Jill and married sister Jessa Seewald were in talks to have a show based on their families. Although my first reaction was that it would be unlikely for TLC to commit to filming Jill and Derick abroad for an extended period of time (versus the network’s documenting of shorter overseas trips), fellow writer Asa brought up the great point that TLC is owned by Discovery Communications, which regularly films with small crews in isolated locations.
What’s more, Jill and Derick: The Mission would quite literally put distance between them and Josh. At this point, that still seems improbable…but it’s a possibility.