(Photo: Duggar family)
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, one of the most popular Christian couples in America featured on TLC's "19 Kids and Counting," recently spoke out about the influence evangelist Billy Graham had on their lives and about the special opportunity they have to share their faith with others.
"Many times when I was growing up, we watched the Billy Graham Crusades on TV. In high school I had the opportunity to attend a crusade," Jim Bob told the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, in preparation for a Q & A the Duggars will hold at the Billy Graham Library on June 8.
"It was incredible to see how God worked in the hearts of people thru Billy Graham's message. Recently at a conference I had two different people share with me that they were saved through Billy Graham's ministry and now they are both serving the Lord. His ministry is still impacting the world daily through thousands of converts who are, in turn, ministering to others."
The Duggars, who married in 1984 and together have 19 children, gained fame in the reality hit series "19 Kids and Counting" which documents their life and entered its 11th season in April. They said that their large family loves meeting new people, even if their children don't always realize the reason for strangers approaching them.
"I don't think our little ones really comprehend why people we don't know come up to us and talk to us as if they know us," Michelle reflected. "Of course our viewers feel like they know all about our family because they have watched almost every major event in our lives on TV for the past nine years."
The 46-year-old mother, who revealed that she miscarried a 20th child in 2011, said that her family has "a heart to share the gospel one on one, at churches and conferences, and through the media. A lot of people have been drawn to our family because of having 19 children and that has given a platform to share biblical principles with people around the world."
As for their favorite verse, Jim Bob said it was Romans 8:28.
"One of the fundamental truths in the Christian life is to realize as we are seeking God, He promises to work ALL things together for good. This means we need to learn to thank God for everything that happens in our lives, good or bad, because in the end everything will work out for our good," the 47-year-old father explained.
Despite all the media attention around them, the Duggars insisted that they are just normal people who struggle with everyday problems as well.
"But our prayer is that people who see us on TV or read our books will be challenged to examine their own lives and realize that we each need a close relationship with God," said Jim Bob, a former state legislator who served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002.
The Duggars recently welcomed their third grandson into the world, from son Josh and his wife, Anna Duggar.
"We are so thankful that mom and baby are well! We are blessed to have our family close as we celebrate this gift from God," the couple said of newly born Marcus Anthony.