I was born March 9th, 1989 in Rogers, AR to Cathy & Rick Dillard. I attended Rogers public schools till I graduated in 2007. As a boy, my younger brother, Dan, and I enjoyed spending time on the lake with our family. We were both involved in the Boy Scouts of America and went on to become Eagle Scouts. When I was nine years old, during a revival at my home church (Lakeside Baptist Church), I realized my need for Jesus Christ, so I prayed and asked Him to forgive me of my sins and take complete control of my life from there on out. I was baptized shortly thereafter.
In 6th grade I took up trumpet lessons and participated in marching band at school. I was inspired to play trumpet since both my dad and grandma played the trumpet in their earlier years. I loved being active and running. So again, like my dad, in high school I ran cross country and joined the swim team.
Both of my parents graduated from Oklahoma State University, and although I liked the idea of going to school nearby at the University of Arkansas, my longtime dream of going to OSU stuck with me. In 2007, I moved three-and-a-half hours from home to begin college. I became active at Eagle Heights Baptist church and involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) during my four years in Stillwater, OK.
The morning of January 18th, 2008, my mom, brother and pastor from Arkansas showed up at my dorm room and shared with me that my dad had passed away in his sleep sometime early that morning. Being that my dad was a hard working police officer and only 50 years old, you can imagine that this came as quite a shock to our family. I went home to spend time with my family, then drove back to college the next week. It was very difficult to lose my dad, my hero, but through his death God really changed my focus. I realized that life is short and only what's done for Jesus Christ will last for eternity!
During my first two years of college, I participated in marching band. In my junior year, I was selected to represent the university as its mascot, Pistol Pete. I considered it a huge honor when I was selected again to continue this role for another year. My dad was also the OSU mascot from 1976-1978, so we were the very first father and son to both serve as Pistol Pete. In 2011, I graduated from OSU with a bachelor's degree in accounting and a minor in economics.
In April 2012, I left America for the very first time and headed to Kathmandu, Nepal where I would spend the next two years of my life. During those years, I did various humanitarian projects while taking several treks into the himalayan mountains for a month at a time to share the hope of Jesus Christ.
I returned home to Arkansas January 2014 and began working at the Walmart home office as a tax accountant in February. Jill and I were engaged in March, married in June, and found out we were expecting in July! We both have hopes of moving our family, in God's timing, to serve internationally.
I am the fourth born child in my family of 19 children. I was born May 17th, 1991, just 16 months after my parents had their first set of twins, Jana and John. Growing up, people would sometimes guess that Jana, John and I were triplets because we were so close in age, or that Jana and I were twins, since we looked so much alike. As you can imagine, we had fun with that! As a child, I was more reserved than I am now, but usually carried a smile and enjoyed toting a little one around on my hip as we played "mom and dad", or "hospital", where I would pretend to be the nurse by giving "medicine" (a.k.a. Koolaide) from a dropper to my "patients" (one of my friends or siblings), or I'd pull a bandage out of my little Noah's ark apron to wrap up their "injured" leg. There was always something to do or someone to play with around my house. Because we were home educated, mom had to make sure that we completed our allotted assignments before we were able to be done for the day. I took up piano lessons when I was 5 years old, and was happy to start violin lessons a few years later when I was 11 years old. Eventually, I also took up harp lessons when a friend offered to teach my sisters and I. Even though practice wasn't always my favorite thing to do as a kid, I'm so glad my parents encouraged me to stick with it, because now I can just play for relaxation and enjoyment.
As a kid, my family was really involved in politics. I remember going door knocking for my dad and other candidates. When he was serving in the Arkansas State House of Representatives, we all moved to the capitol city and we kids would take turns going with him to work. We learned a lot just going to committee meetings and watching bills be discussed and voted on. We also learned where the ice cream sandwich place and free popcorn was! As I reached my teenage years, my siblings and I continued to help candidates and even traveled to other states as volunteers on Governor Huckabee's Presidential campaign and then Sen. Rick Santorum's Presidential campaign a few years later.
One evening when I was 12, I was talking with my mom. I realized I wasn't sure that if I died I would have eternal life. I did like it says in the Bible (Romans 10:9), "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." I confessed all the wrong things I could remember to my mom and God. I asked Him in prayer to take complete control of my life and take me to heaven when I die. Not too long after that, my dad baptized me at our church.
Growing up, my parents kept many biographies of great christians around the house for us kids to read. I loved reading about missionaries who did great things for God in other countries and oftentimes wondered if God might take me outside the USA at some point for ministry purposes. I went on my first short term missions trip to El Salvador as a teenager with some of my siblings and dad. My heart was immediately captured as I saw the poverty and hopelessness a lot of people there were experiencing because their hope lay only in this world, not in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It was hard to leave and I prayed I would be able to return! God did just that and allowed me to go back not just once, but multiple times and to other places in Central and South America as well! I started teaching myself spanish at home with the hopes of using this skill to communicate with friends and share the gospel of Jesus Christ!
From a young age, my parents encouraged each of us kids to gain as many life skills as we could to benefit this world and better equip us to share the gospel with others. When I was 16 years old I went through 12 weeks of childbirth classes with a single mom friend of mine as her support person. I had only attended 2 of my mom's births, so I learned a lot in the classes. After spending more time with the class instructor, I met and started assisting midwives in the area at births. Through the wise, Godly counsel of my parents and friends, I started pursuing midwifery training and education to become licensed as a Certified Professional Midwife (they specialize in low-risk out of hospital prenatal, birth, and postpartum care). My prayer in pursuing midwifery early on was to make wise use of my single years while gaining valuable skills that I may someday use on the mission field. Although I don't plan on practicing while I have little ones of my own at home, I know the skills I have already learned have benefitted me immensely and I may be able to use them in other ways, such as teaching, down the road.