When Jill and Derick Dillard announced in June that they were going to be setting out for an extended mission trip, they pointed fans of their family’s now-canceled TLC series, “19 Kids and Counting,” to their website to donate to the Dillard Family Ministry. Now, two months into what was initially described as being a long-term adventure to spread the gospel has turned into what some fans are calling a fraud.
Fans of Jill and Derick Dillard have recently taken to their official Facebook fan page to slam the devout couple for allegedly misusing funds given to them by their supporters. Donators claim they appear to be misusing the money due to their frequent travels during what was supped to be an extended mission trip. As documented on social media, the couple has traveled with their now 5-month-old son, Israel David, to New York City and Tennessee, and most recently, Arkansas, both trips including stops at family and friends’ weddings, on two separate trips since leaving for Central America on July 5.
While some Facebook fans have resorted to sending the former reality stars quotes from the Bible about their alleged misuse of funds, others have come out requesting the couple return the money that was given to them by their supporters. Some fans are writing to the couple saying they need to be investigated by the IRS. According to the Dillard Family Minstry donation page, the ministry is recognized by the IRS as a "tax-exempt organization."
“I have know many missionaries in my 40+ years as a Christian, and none of them have had the vacations you have had in being 'missionaries' for less than three months. Try transparency because secrets and lies destroy all relationships,” wrote on Facebook user. “Every missionary I know doesn't come back for a year sometimes two and only before then if there is an emergency!!! Weddings are not emergencies!! GET JOBS!!!!” said another fan. “Are you for real? You left in July for missionary work and in the three months you have been back twice and airfare is thousands! Now you are staying for a month to enjoy family and friends? You are not missionaries, you are grifters asking people for money so you don't have to work,” posted another fan.
The Dillards have not responded to fans’ requests to reveal exactly how they’re spending their donations. The couple last spoke out about their mission trip in a Sept. 10 blog post in which Derick Dillard revealed they had plans to stay in Arkansas for a month to “take care of some things and enjoy time with family and friends.”
As of Tuesday morning, the donation page on the Dillards' website was up and running. The page allows fans to donate any sum of money, the lowest suggested donation being $15 USD. Their supporters have the option of donating on a one time, monthly or yearly basis.
"If you feel led to support our mission effort we would be so thankful to have you as a partner. You can give here on our website," Derick Dillard wrote in his mission trip announcement post in June. "Your prayers and your support mean so much to both of us as we begin this great new chapter in life!"