Derick Dillard, Jill Duggar Dillard and their son Israel David Dillard. Photo by jillmdillard/Instagram
TONTITOWN, Ark., June 27 (UPI) -- Jill Duggar Dillard and her husband Derick have announced they are moving overseas to serve God as missionaries.
The news comes as the future of the Duggar family's reality show -- 19 Kids and Counting -- remains in limbo. The docu-series was recently yanked from TLC's schedule amid the scandal revolving around 27-year-old Josh Duggar's admission that he sexually abused five young girls -- four of them his siblings, including Jill -- more than a decade ago. He was never charged with or convicted of a crime.
The married father of three children has publicly admitted to and apologized for his past abusive behavior.
"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," Jill and Derick wrote on their blog Saturday about their new venture.
"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. ... A friend of ours wisely shared that if God was leading us to serve Him abroad, we should pursue it as early as possible, to avoid a more difficult move later, when our roots are deep and we're more comfortable in life. Ultimately, in life there is nothing more important than simply loving, following and obeying our Creator."
The couple said they plan to leave the United States with their infant son Israel in July, but they did not specify exactly where they are going or when they expect to return.
"We look forward to this adventure and the joy of serving Him in this new way. We wanted to share this with you and ask for your prayers as our family makes this transition," the Dillards said. "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. Your prayers and your support mean so much to both of us as we begin this great new chapter in life!"