Despite the recent cancellation of their hit reality TV series "19 Kids and Counting," former TLC stars Jill and Derrick Dillard continue to share the Gospel throughout Central America.
The Dillards, who launched their ministry work in El Salvador last month, have shared that many who've given their lives to Jesus Christ were former gang members partly responsible for the country's increasing violent crime rate.
The newlyweds are reported to have set up their ministry in a tiny Christian retreat called La Esperanza, which is located in the South Central La Paz region of El Salvador, although they have not publicly confirmed this.
"I have loved watching my husband help lead teams, preach to the local believers and love on the people here," Jill wrote via the family blog. "As many of you know, there is a lot of unrest in the countries here in Central America. The gang violence has been something we have been very aware of, especially during the last month."
El Salvador is said to have one of the highest murder rates in the world, which mostly stems from increasing gang-related violence. In June, the nation, which is the smallest country in Central America, had 677 murders— its highest rate since the civil war (which ended in 1992). Jill says, however, that the power of the Holy Spirit is present and is slowly transforming the country's people.
"We have seen Isaiah 61:1 come to life. 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.' We have had the opportunity to minister to several gang members and even see some come to freedom in Christ!" she wrote.
The Dillards have been working alongside other missionary volunteers since July in a bid to help bring salvation to the crime-ridden nation. One of the ways in which they seek to bring change is by helping people gain education and employment.
"During the last month, we visited many villages and town squares where we performed dramas and programs, evangelized, helped lead a couple youth conferences, organized a regional soccer tournament, met with government officials to discuss pressing issues, worked on construction projects, and made home visits," Jill shared.
"One of our main focuses while we're here will be to provide ways for the people in these communities to be educated and/or have work so the kids won't follow their parents footsteps. Because of the violence and fear in some areas we were in, people face the frequent reality of eternity and are more open to the Gospel because of it."
The couple, who wed on June 21 of last year, previously opened up about why they felt called to do missionary work outside of the United States.
"We have a deep love and care for all of the world and a real passion for those in the nations, as many have even seen in the early stages of our relationship. And our hope is that all peoples of the world would come to repentance and put their hope in the Lord, Jesus Christ," the pair wrote last month in a blog post titled "Ministry." "God has put a desire in our hearts to serve Him internationally for longer than the typical short-term mission trip."
Watch Derrick Dillard worship alongside other Christian volunteers at a La Esperanza mission (video below).