Back in February, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard returned to El Salvador to continue performing missionary work in the one of the Central American nation’s poorest villages.
It wasn’t Jill and Derick’s first time taking such a trip, but this time around, Jill is pregnant with her second child, and the couple is traveling with their young son Israel Dillard in tow.
As a result, many fans chided the Dillards for putting themselves and their son in danger – and that chorus of criticism will likely grow louder in the wake of a stunning new revelation from Jill:
Taking to her family’s official website yesterday, Jill informed fans that she and Derick are currently mourning the loss of a close friend who was recently murdered in one of El Salvador’s crime-plagued slums:
“We received a phone call on Monday from a friend here in Central America informing us that one of our other good friends (a fellow Christian) had been murdered the day before and that his family had found his body down by the river earlier that morning,” Jill wrote
Jill didn’t offer many specifics, but it seems the friend was a native of El Salvador, whom she and Derick had become close with in recent weeks.
“Even though we had spoke [sic] with our friend and his family about the realities of the dangers here, and especially in their area right now, we were shocked when we learned of his kidnap and murder,” Jill revealed.
“We’ve had them into our home three times in the past couple weeks!”
Jill went on to report that Derick attended the unnamed friend’s funeral, while she stayed home in stunned disbelief:
“After our regular church service last night, Derick was able to attend the funeral service with some people from church while Israel and I (Jill) stayed back at the house,” Jill wrote.
“Typically funerals are held in a family member’s home and last several hours into the night.
“Our friend’s funeral was held in their area and Derick and some men from church were able to share some words of encouragement with the family and guests. We have cried and continue to grieve the loss of our dear friend. “
Since the time of the Dillards’ first mission trip, fans have expressed concerns about the family’s safety.
Jill has written about safety issues in the past, and many have pointed out that life in El Salvador seems to have had a negative impact on Derick’s health.
But Jill has given no indication that she and Derick are planning to return to the States ahead of schedule.
She concluded this week’s message from abroad with the following request to fans:
“We will only be here a little while longer, before we return to the States to prepare for the birth of our second little one, so please also continue to pray for God’s strength and grace to carry on with responsibilities and make the most of the short time left here before our return.”
We’re sure Duggar devotees will deliver in that regard.