Family Announcement

July 16, 2016






We are so excited to share that we will be returning in August for a short stateside term that will extend into the fall.  We are really looking forward to seeing our families after nearly 10 months on foreign soil. We plan on taking some Bible classes as we continue to work in ministry from the US. Serving in Central America has been an amazing experience so far for both of us (and Israel!). We feel like we’ve made great advancements in just learning the culture and the language as well as building relationships with so many precious people. Our time here so far has allowed us to see many hearts touched, many souls accept the redeeming love of Christ, and many sweet people helped through humanitarian efforts. We believe our labors until now will serve as a strong foundation for many years of wonderful ministry in the days to come. Even while we are in the United States we will continue to work on behalf of the ministry and the work in Central America will continue. Stay tuned to our website for more updates. Please do continue to pray for us and for the lives of those we’ve been called to minister to!







…”¿De Quién Temeré?

Yo sé quién va delante

Yo sé quién va detrás

Dios de ejércitos

Él siempre conmigo está…”


(De Quién Temeré- Chirs Tomlin)


“Whom shall I fear? I know who goes before me. I know who stands behind.  The God of angel armies is always by my side…” The words to this song by Chris Tomlin are powerful words from the Bible that we are reminded of frequently.  

As we mentioned in our last update, we are in the middle of rainy season here in Central America, which means there are usually rain showers every day or every other day at some point. A couple of weeks ago, it was raining pretty hard and Derick had just finished dropping people off after church and was headed back to the house when a friend stopped to talk with him. A minute or so later while they were still talking a little ways from the house, a bolt of lightning hit the tree next to our house! The blast startled everyone around (Israel and I were in the house) and knocked our friend, who Derick was talking with, off his feet! We were talking later with some of our friends and realized that had this friend not stopped Derick to talk with him, Derick could’ve been walking through water as he headed to our house and could’ve been electrocuted by the lightening through the water on the ground. We praise God for keeping him safe and thank each of you for praying for us!

We were grateful to have a group of four guys (Joseph, Max, Rob and D.J.) come from the states for a couple of weeks to help construct additional bathrooms for the church before the July short-term mission team arrives, as well as begin the construction on a house for one of the young guys in our church and his mom, who is sick.

I (Jill) have enjoyed getting to have a weekly time of fellowship in our home with the pastor’s wife and a few other ladies as we study the Bible together and read and discuss Christian books that address specific areas the ladies may be experiencing trouble in. God had burdened my heart with a desire to unite the ladies of the church in fellowship together, so reaching out in this way in a more intimate setting has really allowed the women to open up and share their struggles and worries with each other and allow their sisters in Christ to come alongside and pray with and encourage them. Sometimes they bring their little kids, and I usually make a treat like banana bread for us to enjoy together. Israel loves having company and usually makes the rounds asking everyone for a bite of their food! LOL

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary June 21st and were given a getaway gift to a hotel for a night. It was a special time to relax and enjoy the pool, wifi and warm showers! 

Health is something we don’t take for granted, especially on the mission field in another country in an environment we’re not used to.  Derick and I are generally very healthy people, but when you’re eating, drinking and living in a different place than the one you grew up in, it’s not uncommon to come down with the “traveler’s stuff” or other bacteria/viruses in the local jungle area.  No, we haven’t had Zika that we know of, but both of us have been laid out for a few days here and there, thankfully not both at the same time though. J Israel was sick last week with what we initially thought was a virus (may have  been a 24hr. bug), only to find out that he had just cut 2 of his first 4 molars and the others look as though they’ll pop through any day now! He is getting tall. He’s 33 inches now and weighs a whopping 28 pounds! He loves to read and play football and soccer with daddy and all his little friends! 

Derick has built a friendship with a guy named Rigo who was left paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot on the street last December.  Derick has been able to visit him multiple times and even took him some Christian movies to watch and discuss with him later. Be praying for Rigo’s health and for him to come to know Jesus and have a personal relationship with him. 

We are still leading the Bible study in the village every week where we continue working with Ruth, the lady who comes with us each week to teach skills training. Some of the people, who have been attending the classes for a while and have made several jewelry items, were able to sell some of their handiwork at a recent community event in their area. This was really exciting for them and we are praying about how to help them best use their new skills to support their families.

Alex and Maira (the pastor and his wife) were able to attend a pastor’s retreat getaway after a “divine appointment” in which Derick’s mom met a couple from the states as she was flying home from visiting us. The couple has a ministry to serve pastors and wanted to sponsor Alex and Maira to attend the 3-day getaway they were hosting.  Derick’s mom put us in contact with the couple, and we were able to meet altogether with Alex and Maira and discuss this pastors ministry as well as the retreat they were hosting. This was a much needed time of refreshment for them and we were so happy God worked it out for them to go.

Shortly after the July teams leave, we plan to return home for a little while. It will have been over a year since we began working in Central America and about 10 months since we’ve been in the states. We are looking forward to being home with family (and Chick-fil-A ;-) and plan to take some Bible classes and be involved in local ministry while we’re there.


Please pray with us for:

-Continued safety and health for us and the people we work with

-A full time pastor for the local church

-To be able to encourage believers and reach many hurting people with the gospel of Jesus Christ while the July teams are here

-Rigo’s salvation & health

“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