May 20, 2016
By Derick and Jill
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