“So excited to share this news that we are now engaged,” the pair tell PEOPLE. “From both of us, thank you all for the countless well-wishes we’ve received during the courtship. We are so excited to take this next step in spending our lives together. We are so grateful for how the Lord has brought us together. It has been an incredible journey so far and we are excited about serving Christ together in the coming days.”
The news of their engagement comes just a month after Duggar and Vuolo announced they were officially courting (the only Duggar-approved way of dating), but the couple actually met last May.
The two then “had the opportunity to go on a missions trip together,” adds Jinger. “It was there that I really saw his heart and really admired his character.”
Vuolo studied at Syracuse University and played for Major League Soccer club the New York Red Bulls before stepping away from the game to pursue ministry. He later signed with the San Antonio Scorpions in the North American Soccer League in 2014 after completing a missionary trip for relief aid in the Philippines.
According to Vuolo’s website, on Thursday morning, December 11, 2015, he expressed his interest to get to know Jinger better to Jim Bob Duggar. “This opened up the door for Mr. Duggar and me to build a friendship and began this great new chapter of my life with Jinger!”
“We are very excited to begin this journey together,” says Vuolo of his bride-to-be.
The couple’s courtship will be a big part of the new season of Counting On when it returns to TLC Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. ET. Check out an exclusive clip above!