'19 Kids and Counting' Stars Jill Duggar, Derick Dillard Leave on Overseas Mission Trip

Kimberly RipleyLife

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19 Kids and Counting stars Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard--along with their infant son Israel--left Arkansas on Sunday for a lengthy mission trip, during which the family is expected to spend at least a year overseas.

Derick Dillard recently shared on his and Jill's blog how important serving on a missions trip is to the couple.

"Since we first began our relationship, it has always been our goal that Jesus Christ might be glorified as we serve others through family ministry, by whatever means that might be. 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," he writes.

"God has put a desire in our hearts to serve Him internationally for longer than the typical short-term mission trip, but we didn’t know yet how God would fulfill that desire in us. We were prepared for the possibility of it being years before our family would be able to make a move of that magnitude. It’s something we’ve prayed about together in an effort to seek God’s plan for our lives in His service. Earlier this year God brought about an opportunity much earlier than either of us was expecting. Several months ago a new opportunity arose for us to serve God on the mission field. Before us we had a choice to make that would undoubtedly change the trajectory of our lives forever."

The 19 Kids and Counting family members got together on Saturday to celebrate not only Independence Day, but one of the last days Derick and Jill Dillard would spend with them in quite a long time.

Jill Duggar Dillard shared a photo of herself with her husband on the 4th of July.

A photo posted by Jill Dillard (@jillmdillard) on

The next day Jessa Duggar Seewald shared a photo of Jill Duggar Dillard and her little family as they were about to board a plane leaving Arkansas and the 19 Kids and Counting gang behind.

It's uncertain when the whole 19 Kids and Counting family will be together again, but chances are it will be a while. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar must be incredibly proud of Derick and Jill but likely wish they could see Israel grow in the coming months.

Do you think TLC might send a camera crew to join Derick and Jill Dillard if they opt to air future episodes of 19 Kids and Counting?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.