“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9
 
Dear Daddy,
Happy Father’s Day! I just wanna say “thank you” for everything you did to give me the best childhood one could dream of! I love you so much and am so grateful for all the time you and momma invested in each of us. You made sacrifices to be able to do the things like these verses in Deuteronomy say, to teach us about the Bible and Jesus throughout the day and in the evenings as we went about life. You tried to make everything fun! Here’s just a sample of things that come to mind when I think back to my childhood with my Daddy (a.k.a. “Pops”!)
 
Daddy, some of my earliest memories are from our nightly Bible times most every evening. We loved to listen to you read the bible and explain it to us in story form….even though sometimes we fell asleep toward the end! :) We all loved it!
 
I remember that we kids would sometimes get in trouble for leaving your tools out in the rain, or for digging holes in the yard with the back claws of your hammers. You decided to designate a “dirt pile” where we could dig as much as we wanted. You led by example when you’d ask us to help pick up trash in the yard. You also let us know that if we were going to keep getting popsicles as treats we couldn’t throw our wrappers in the yard. And there were periods where we didn’t get to have them after that! That consistency was good though ‘cause it taught us pretty quickly that we not only wanted to make sure we didn’t throw our wrappers down, but also to remind our brother or sister not to either!
 
I remember swim lessons at Grandma Bennett’s when you tried to help me face my fears of the diving board and “deep end” by jumping off with me. lol Not sure that worked so well since I ended up thinking I was for sure gonna drown! ;-) I’ve told Derick about the experience though and maybe since he’s a great swimmer he’ll be able to continue the coaching. lol  
 
You made time together as a family super fun. I loved the family bike rides (we made a super long line on the road) and camping in the front yard or out at the new home site. I remember you had a special cabinet on road trips where you kept oatmeal cream pies! You’d share them with us, but we couldn’t eat nearly many as you without feeling sick. lol
 
Grocery shopping with you was always fun since you’d end up getting junk food snacks. ;-) Speaking of food, when you were State Rep. we loved going with you to the state capitol for our weekly turn. And we knew that even though we may have to sit through a boring committee meeting, we’d get to eat out and maybe even get some yummy snacks (tootsie rolls, popcorn and ice cream sandwiches!) from the other Representatives.  
 
You showed us what Jesus meant when he said to take care of the fatherless and the widows. You’d give when we didn’t have a lot of extra in the bank. And you’d be sure to include our friends who didn’t have fathers on the father/son or father/daughter campouts.
 
When you were running the car lot we’d get to go with you for the day and knew that if you and Grandpa went next door to get a Mt. Dew from the convenience store you’d get one for us too! I remember riding with you in the tow truck too and wondering how you could drive a stick shift, talk on the phone and keep your cup of sweet tea (without a lid on) from spilling! When you were done with your drink I’d help eat the ice since I didn’t care for tea.
 
You taught us many life skills from a young age. I remember going to the hardware store and us kids being so excited when we found a new “do it yourself” home improvement video on the rack. I think because we didn’t watch a lot of television and liked working on projects with you it made even the simplest things fun. We picked up on a few things (e.g. plumbing, roofing, tiling, etc.) that would benefit us later when helping build the family home.
 
One of the many character traits you purposed to exemplify to us from the Bible was how “a soft answer turns away anger.”  As a teenage girl, I realized this quality was something I also wanted in my future husband.
 
When you introduced Derick to me long-distance and suggested we get to know each other, it gave me confidence to know you approved from the start and to know you cared enough to look out for me in that way. The trip we took together to Nepal to meet Derick was such a special time and I was SO grateful to have you there with me! You were my counselor, photographer, bodyguard, and so much more! I will cherish those memories forever!
 
On our wedding day, I remember you were in tears just before you walked me down the isle. I was your first daughter to have to give away and I know it was tough for you. I was so excited and so grateful to God for such a Godly daddy who raised me to love Jesus, serve others and who protected me and helped guide me till the day he gave me away to my sweet hubby, Derick! I’m so grateful you’re still my daddy and a wonderful grandpa to Israel! I love you so much Daddy & can’t wait to see you before too long! XOXOXO

To Derick, the love of my life, my “soul mate” and the best Papa in the world!

 

Happy Father’s Day My Love!

 

I love you SOOO much Derick and praise God for you! I thank Him for giving me such a thoughtful, caring husband who is such a good father to our son. Israel loves you so much and loves getting to spend time with you. I love coming into the living room and seeing y’all sitting on the floor reading a book or playing with his blocks together.

 

You can tell Israel loves his papa. Every time he hears you walking up to the front door he starts saying, “Papa! Papa!” and runs over and waits for you to open it and give him the keys. I love seeing him giggle while you “wrestle”/tickle him before bed, or seeing his little chubby hand go up in the air, trying to touch the ceiling, when you toss him up in the air. Of course he loves football with papa too and it’s so adorable to see him running all over the house playing with you.

 

You’re such a good Daddy. Israel loves it when you bring home his favorite snack (bananas) when you go shopping. He is your little buddy and you’re his best friend. I pray for Israel that he will be like his papa, “a man after God’s own heart”…a man who “loves God and hates evil.”

 

Amidst the craziness of this life, you trust Jesus and continue to lead, protect and guide your family closer to Him. I only wish your dad were with us now, he would be so proud of you, honey! I can’t wait to meet him in heaven one day!

 

I pray for you daily that you will continue to draw closer to the Lord and love him more! I love you with all my heart! You’re my best friend, my amazing hubby and the most wonderful papa!

 

We love you bunches! 

Your wifey + little buddy

Hello from the Dillards

Much has happened in our life and ministry over the past couple months.  First of all, thank you to all of our faithful prayer and financial partners for your support of my family and ministry.  We are truly blessed beyond measure by God’s love working through His church for His purposes and His glory. 

We are now in the thick of rainy season, which means we can expect heavy showers almost daily as well as intermittent power loss.  The showers bring LOTS of new creatures and insects from the jungle, but that’s not a problem because we also have a one year old who provides excellent service in the pest control department as his diet continues to expand.  Israel recently celebrated his first birthday in full Latino fashion (piñata, lots of friends of all ages, lots of decorations, family, cake, etc…)  “Grandma C” (my mom) even made it down for the week of Israel’s birthday.  She was a huge blessing and came at just the right time.  We had been fighting sickness during the weeks leading up to her arrival, and God knew that we needed her at that moment. 

In March, we hosted a team from the US, who we served with in organizing a women’s conference, orphanage visit, home visits, football tournament, and medical clinic visit.  The time with the team was especially memorable because a lot of Jill’s siblings were a part of that team.  In fact, it was even the first time that Israel got to meet his new cousin, Spurgeon!  After the team returned to the States, two of the team members, our friends Joseph and Maxwell, remained to continue working on a couple projects for the ministry through mid-April. 

As we look for a full-time pastor, I am continuing to preach for the church we serve with 1-2 times per week, as well as encouraging the missionary heart of this body.  God has blessed the efforts in a local village where we continue to serve weekly through a Bible study and skills training.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s always been our desire to model our ministry on Jesus Christ, who did not separate the work of physical provision with that of spiritual enlightenment.  Each week, after a time of Bible study lead by a local pastor named Max, there is time devoted to skills development that enables people, who are otherwise unable to produce an income, the means to provide for themselves and their families.  We have partnered with another local believer named Ruth, who is skilled in teaching crafts.  With supplies generously donated from the Church in the US, Ruth is teaching about 20 women how to make a new piece of jewelry each week.  Once these women have completed Ruth’s teaching program, they can then employ their newfound skill to strengthen themselves and their communities.  Recently, we have expanded to include hair-cutting as well, after receiving donated hair clippers.  While Ruth is teaching the crafting class, there are usually a couple people receiving haircuts as part of the other training at the other end of the room.  To provide childcare for the parents in class, Jill and Israel teach/ entertain anywhere from 4 to 24 kids who sing and learn about the Bible until everyone is dismissed for refreshments.

God has also continued to open doors for evangelism in various places in our area, in ways that we would never expect.  I want to highlight my interaction with two men in particular, Rigo and Alex.  I met Rigo while working with the stateside team in a local village back in March.  He had been the victim of a roadside shooting back in December and is now paralyzed from a bullet that hit his spinal cord.  He remains at home recovering, but because of his immobility, he has also had much more time to think about the mysteries of life in the wake of the shooting.  God has opened up great conversations with him, and I was even able to visit him with my mom while she was here.  Recently, I’ve taken Christian movies for him to watch that serve as a springboard into Bible-centered conversations.

My relationship with Alex began unexpectedly with a trip to the hardware store.  We struck up a conversation and he actually asked if I could pick him up for church before I got the chance to invite him.  He professes Christ as Lord, but has expressed a desire to meet regularly to study more about the Bible and deepen his walk with the Lord. 

God has used so many different unsuspecting circumstances and methods to draw people to himself and workout his plan that nobody can take credit for it but God himself.  That’s just it… we are so inadequate, but God still uses our imperfections and inabilities to work out His grand plan that’s woven throughout history.  I have to remind myself often, if we just draw closer to God and trust Him, then He can do amazing things through our obedience.     

                            

Please Pray for the following needs:

 

  • Safety and steadfastness amidst working in a difficult environment, including increased violence
  • Full-time pastor needed at La Esperanza church
  • Pray Ezekiel 36:26 for the people who have heard the Gospel through witnessing opportunities God has given my family.
  • Growing opportunities for economic empowerment in areas stricken by poverty (e.g. business skills training, crafting, hair cutting, community development jobs)
  • Spiritual growth for those who have recently made professions of faith in Jesus

We's also posted recent photos of our family in an album on our website here.