The Duggar family, stars of the 19 Kids and Counting show, have started arriving in Central America for their annual Christmas mission trip.
Three of the oldest children–Jinger, 20; Joseph, 19; and Josiah, 18–arrived ahead of the rest of the family along with some friends, and have been in Guatemala and Honduras for over a week, “spreading Christmas joy to local children,” according to the unofficial family blog.
Jim Bob and Michelle, and most of the rest of their children–including Joy, 17; Jedidiah, 15; and Jeremiah, 15–were at the airport on Friday waiting for their flight to join the others.
Jill Duggar Dillard and her new husband Derick Dillard are planning on meeting up with the rest of the brood in El Salvador soon.
But one Duggar missing in action is newlywed Jessa, and her husband Ben Seewald. The blog notably omits any mention of them, while Jessa has not made any reference to the trip on social media.
She did post two pictures of herself and her husband enjoying themselves back from their honeymoon. They traveled to Hot Springs, a popular vacation spot in Arkansas, this weekend, and also went out to dinner.
Jana is also missing from the pictures. The eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle is known for babysitting her siblings, and she could be staying home to take care of some of the younger children who aren’t old enough to go yet.
Meanwhile, Michelle discussed a couple of years ago what Christmas means to the Duggar family and what they do in the season besides setting out a nativity scene and putting on a play.
“In our home, the focus of the season is not on getting, but on what we can give to the less fortunate. We go on mission trips to El Salvador. We go to soup kitchens in our area. We reach out to the poor and the needy to help those who have so little. I think the definition of the word ‘love’ pretty well sums it up. Love is giving to the basic needs of others without having personal reward as a motive,” she said in a blog post.
“We have a lot to be thankful for. Jim Bob likes to remind the kids of what God meant when he said it’s more blessed to give than to receive. That’s our motto this time of year.”
She wrote in another post about the importance of giving back, which includes the mission trips.
“When we get to El Salvador, we’ll shop at the local stores to purchase olive oil, rice and beans and other food commodities that are needed in the community. We’ll gather everything and take it to the people in the villages or mountain areas that are very needy. Once we get to the village, we’ll have a big children’s rally, like a Christmas party for the children. The parents come with their children, and they’re just as excited about the party and the gifts as the kids. Anyway, it’s such a total difference between what we live and experience here. We’ve got so much to be thankful for in America,” she said.
“Our children get an understanding that the way we live here is not the way most people in the world live. We are definitely blessed in America. We’ve got so much to be grateful for. It’s a really special time for our family to be able to make that trip right before Christmas.”