By Holly Rasmussen
It’s been a week since 19 Kids and Counting stars Jill and Derick Dillard booked it out of the country with their infant son Israel. In June, the couple announced on their family blog that they were heading overseas to do missionary work, but did not specifically mention where they were headed. (Multiple media outlets have stated that the Dillards are in El Salvador, though.)
Last week, the Duggars posted a very (scripted and weird) touching video on their family website, showing the family saying goodbye to Jill, Derick and Israel.
Jim Bob promised (er…threatened?) that the family would be visiting Jill and Derick “when they least expect it” and kept calling Jill his “Little Jillymuffin.”As if that weren’t awkward enough, Jim Bob decided to randomly bring up Derick’s father’s sudden death to add to the goodbye fun.
Two of the Duggar girls, Joy Anna and Jennifer, broke down crying as they said goodbye to Jill (who essentially raised them as their “Buddy Team Leader.”) Jill and Derick have stated that they will be gone for an extended period of time, so it may be years before they come back to the United States.
While Joy and Jenny were heartbroken to see Jill go, the rest of the family seemed casual about the whole thing. Jill’s mother Michelle Duggar barely mustered a (side) goodbye hug, while Jill’s sister Jinger seemed bored by all the goodbye hubbub. (She couldn’t even be bothered to stifle her enormous yawn while the camera was rolling. She’s so over this family.)
In a new blog post written right before he and his family left the country, Derick explained that, before leaving, they had been spending as much time with family as they could. They also kept busy by getting everything in order for their move.
“In addition to traveling and spending time with family, we’ve been tirelessly working our way through a growing checklist of tasks that include but is not limited to: packing, coordinating logistics, making copies of passports and other important documents, transitioning insurance plans, preparing for language school, buying clothes for Israel, doctors appointments, sending out family prayer cards, and our orientation with our mission organization 2 weeks ago,” Derick wrote.
Jill and Derick have both expressed a desire to do missionary work for quite some time and it seems the timing of this trip couldn’t have been better. As The Ashley reported, Jill publicly named herself as a victim of sexual molestation at the hands of her eldest brother, Josh, a few months ago. Many have speculated the trip is a way to get out of the harsh media spotlight during this very difficult time.
So Derick quit his accounting job at Wal-Mart, they packed up their four-month-old (who probably hasn’t even had all of his vaccinations yet) and headed to a third world country.
The Dillards are currently asking their fans to donate to their ministry. Although on their donation page they claim that their charity, Dillard Family Ministries, is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that accepts tax-deductible donations, they have jumped the gun a bit. Their request to have their business become tax-exempt is actually still pending.
Watch the awkward goodbye video posted by the Duggar family below: