Chaplain Jill

About Jill's Ministry

Jill Bryan (AKA Chaplain Jill) communicates God’s truths with fun and laughter. Her message is one of abundant life offered in Jesus Christ. Jill was raised in a Christian home but she experienced life’s worst through her rebellious teen years and finally found herself broken and on her knees at 27 years of age.

She found forgiveness and rededicated her life to God and His work. For almost 3 decades, Jill has performed gospel music and illusions – becoming known and loved around the world as “Chaplain Jill.”

Chaplain Jill ministers to church groups worldwide and now is also a missionary to bikers and prisoners across America.

Chaplain Jill’s Testimony

I grew up in what I would call a Christian home. We went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays but somehow the home prayers were mostly at meals. My parents struggled with their relationship. I was two years old when they finally divorced. Mom had to raise three children on her own. She did the best she could while she worked two jobs. We moved to be closer to relatives and when I was eight years old I asked Jesus into my heart at a church camp. I began to study and memorize the Bible which, to this day I am very grateful for. But life had some very difficult twists and turns.

When I was twelve years old, a camp youth worker took advantage of me and stole my virginity. Although he continued seeing me, he lied to me saying that he would stay with me. Of course now I know how deceived I was. It was at this time I shook my fist at God and said “If this is Christianity, then I’ll have nothing to do with it.” I walked away from God and began to live for myself. At my age, I still had to go to church and look good for the family but as soon as I was able, I was out partying with my friends. I began doing drugs in seventh grade and hung out with the drinkers and smokers of the school. Because I was very outgoing, I could hide this double-life very well. I was involved in school and even became a cheerleader. I kept up my grades but still I partied very hard. I could have had any boyfriend I wanted and used people to please only me.

When I was nineteen I decided to marry and be taken care of. Or so I thought. After five months of marriage, I learned how wrong I was. My husband beat me beyond recognition. The doctors in the hospital couldn’t believe that I was alive. My husband even broke his hand hitting me. Because my mother was so against the idea of divorce, she begged me to stay with him and try to work it out. After four years, I couldn’t take any more. We divorced and I continued to try and find my own way.

I worked very hard and became a chef. In my spare time I was a drug dealer and very good at it, but after being in and out of jail on weekends I finally came to the end of my rope and cried out to God for help. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was locked up inside of a jail cell, curled up in a little ball in the corner on the floor and said, “God if you’ll get me out of this, I’ll serve you the rest of my life.” Within thirty minutes I was out.

It took me one year later to realize what I had said to God, but on May 20, 1983, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. At the time I promised God I would serve Him, I really didn’t know how to, so I began doing Jillybean. Jillybean is the nickname that my brother used to call me. Now it’s a full-time ministry for kids and families worldwide. I thank God everyday for all He has done and will do in my life as I continue to serve Him. To God be the glory always and forever.

Article about Chaplain Jill from The Torrington Telegram

Jillybean in Transition

By Jennifer Lanier
jlanier@torringtontelegram.org
Staff Writer

GOSHEN COUNTY – Jillybean is giving the puppets a rest. She is doing less comedy and more personal comforting. Instead of performing on stages, she walks the hospital corridors, offering reassurance and prayers to those in need. Jillybean is in transition.

Jill Bryan, Goshen County Chaplain is seeking a more peaceful and quieter side of ministry.

“People have known me as Jillybean for 30 years. I have ministered God’s love through ventriloquism, as a singer, and a comedian. It is fun to see the smiles on the faces in the audience. But as we all know, the aging process causes us to slow down,” said Bryan.

Bryan used to travel and take her comedy ministry on the road at a fast pace, reaching as many venues and people as possible. She has traveled to 10 countries and throughout the U.S. as Jillybean, bringing laughter and comfort to people. She is stopping the tours and only traveling when necessary.

This is the first summer Bryan will be home, in Wyoming, since moving here, in 2005.

Bryan’s transition from Jillybean to Chaplain Jill comes from a combination of life events and her desire to focus more on volunteering at home. 

“Circumstances beyond my control, cancer and a car accident, made me realize I can’t go back to what I used to do,” said Bryan.

Right before a big trip to the Philippines, in 2006, Bryan was told she had stage-three breast cancer.

“It was a rude awakening. I cancelled my trip and had surgery [lumpectomy] followed by radiation. I got my miracle – I didn’t have chemotherapy and I am now in remission.

“Cancer, it zaps you of all energy. It causes depression – a normal side effect. In 2007, I started singing again … and was invited to be the chaplain for the Veteran Fire Department. My energy was still pretty low,” said Bryan.

At the time of her diagnosis, Bryan was living as a missionary on H&T Ranch.

“I am very grateful for that … Cows are good counselors. I was going through a hard time. H&T Ranch was very good to me. Eventually I moved from “Why me?” to “What now?”

“In 2011, I was in a car accident in Rockford, ILL while on tour. It messed up my whole tour,” said Bryan. Later that summer while bouncing around on a Brazilian dirt road clutching her puppets, Bryan experienced post traumatic stress symptoms. She spent two days in the hotel recovering. 

“I realized I was suffering from PTS …I had to deal with it before it became PTSD [disorder]. I had to slow down, to help others. If I am not in a good place myself, I shouldn’t deploy.

“I couldn’t be Jillybean without hurting for days afterwards. Holding the puppets up was difficult. In 2013, I had surgery on my spine at Laser Spine Institute and got my life back. I began to take care of myself,” Bryan said. 

Life, injury and a new focus are helping Jillybean transition into Chaplain Jill.

“I am staying home in Wyoming and doing what God says to do here. I miss seeing all the people I usually see every year – they’re like family,” Bryan said.

She has enough on her plate to keep her busy here at home. Bryan is the Chaplain for the VFD, Torrington Police Department, Torrington Veterans of Foreign Wars, Torrington Community Hospital, and the Guernsey American Legion Riders. Her work is so extensive her title has been condensed to Goshen County Chaplain. She is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All her chaplaincy work is volunteered.

In addition, Bryan is a substitute bus driver for Goshen County School District No. 1 and substitute cook at Lingle Fort Laramie schools.

“It’s all about being available. The transition [to a quieter more peaceful ministry] may be easier than I think. I have found balance. I don’t have to be “on” or impress anyone. I’m here to please God and live up to His expectations,” said Bryan.

Bryan reads, golf’s, hunts, swims and rides motorcycles in her spare time. This year she will not be volunteering at the Biker Pit Stop, a resting place for riders heading to Sturgis. “It’s the 75th anniversary of Sturgis, and this year, Chaplain Jill will be going!” she exclaimed.

Jillybean has grown up, a bit. Her puppets are still on hand, when they are needed, but she is focused on helping people, one-on-one, here, in the county.

“I am at peace with myself and God. I’m able to give assistance to others – to leave them better off than when I found them: in a calmer state, with hope for life – a life worth living,” Bryan said.

To contact Chaplain Jill Bryan,
Email: Chaplainjillbryan@gmail.com
Call (307) 575-1263 or
Write, P.O. Box 100, Lingle, WY, 82223.
www.jillybean.org
Jillybean Enterprise Inc. is a non-profit 501(3) c.