Dillard Family Stateside Update
As many of you already know from previous updates and personal correspondence, Jill and I have returned to the US for our stateside term. Again, we want to thank all of our financial and prayer support partners. Through your faithful giving to our ministry, God has provided a way for our family to follow His calling to missionary service. Your sacrifice is deeply meaningful to us and since we began Dillard Family Ministries in June 2015, we have always strived to be honorable stewards of the call of God on our lives, the trust of those we are serving and the finances and friendship of those of you partnering with us.
It is our greatest desire for the most support as possible to go toward the direct impact of reaching the spiritually dead of Central America with the message of hope in Jesus Christ. We are thankful that we’ve been able to put ministry funds to the most direct use in Central America and have been able to cover all of our travel, except one trip there, and other indirect expenses with non-ministry funds. Your sacrificial giving is going directly to the mission! With Christ as our example, we want to help both the physically and spiritually destitute. To read about how we have been doing this in Central America, please review our past updates and pictures. Your giving truly is making a difference, and we thank you for your commitment toward the work of the Kingdom in Central America.
While we are stateside in the US for this brief time, we want to continue to make the most of both our time and resources. Jill and I are taking Bible classes, sharing the story of our mission with people in the US and preparing to return to Central America. Your support is helping make this possible. When our schedule allows, I’m also working a number of jobs in between for additional support of my family.
As many of you with small children can attest to, everything in life becomes more complicated when you have a toddler; every minute becomes carefully strategized. Even as I am writing this update, Jill is working on a research project for a class, trying to get as much studying done as possible before Israel wakes up from his morning nap, at which point any task will become immensely more complicated. The other night, while Israel was sleeping, Jill was able to use her midwifery skills as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) when she left in the middle of the night for about 4 hours to assist with a birth. Anyway, I digress. Needless to say, we try to make the most of the time when our son is asleep, employing tag-team parenting and family assistance when necessary. Through focused time of Bible study in our classes, we hope to be more equipped missionaries, both here in the states as well as when we return to Central America.
Part of our role as international missionaries is to engage the American Church in missions, including what the Lord is doing in various places, as well as the importance for all believers’ involvement. In doing this, we take advantage of every opportunity we can to speak to groups about international missions and specifically our personal testimony of the work in Asia and Latin America. We’ve been blessed in the past to be able to present to groups ranging from children in AWANA to the ladies of the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU).
Being in one’s home country, and especially the US, does not mean disengaging or failure to initiate engagement of the international population domestically. Twelve years ago I read Thomas Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and it’s now more apparent than ever to me that the system of globalization Friedman spoke of carries with it new implications as well as unique opportunities in the seemingly borderless world we now live in. Our world is becoming increasingly small, and it’s easier than ever to speak with someone from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia without ever leaving your home state or even your hometown, especially if it’s a college town.
I have found this to be very true in my personal experience and, for this reason, I want to realize the opportunities, even in my own backyard of Arkansas, to build relationships with and really get to know people who have very different perspectives than my own. Just recently, Jill and I were afforded the opportunity of attending a Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) bonfire cookout for international students at the University of Arkansas, where we enjoyed hanging out and visiting with some awesome people. As with anything in my life, my desire is to emulate the character and work of Jesus Christ the best I can. I truly believe that we are living in a generation with unique opportunities that God is using to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven quicker than any of us may realize. And, I love having a front-row seat to just get a glimpse of how God is going to fulfill Revelation 7:9.
The photos above are considered the property of the Dillard Family and may only be used with their written permission. Please request permission to use the photos.