God's mouthpiece for vulnerable children

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
God's mouthpiece for vulnerable children
God's mouthpiece for vulnerable children


By Tony Rossi

Jen Lilley didn’t just play a mom in her recent Hallmark Channel movie “Harvest Love,” she became a foster parent in real life because of her passion for children in the most vulnerable circumstances. Growing up, her family’s home sometimes served as a “safe house” for youth because her father was a judge, and her mother ran a crisis pregnancy center that helped young women going through unplanned pregnancies choose life for their unborn babies – or offered them counseling if they had already chosen otherwise.

As Lilley gained fame for roles on “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives,” she made charity work a vital part of her life, focusing at first on water charities overseas. But then she felt the Holy Spirit asking her, “Who in your own neighborhood needs help?” After investigating non-profits, she discovered the Innocent Justice Foundation, which goes after child pornographers. That’s when she learned that the United States is the number one supplier of child pornography in the world. “The average victim is under the age of four,” she told me during a “Christopher Closeup” interview. “I remember being in my home office and just weeping…[and asking], ‘How is no one talking about this?’”

That’s why Lilley decided to speak up, which led her publicists to tell her to stop it because the general public doesn’t want to hear about such unpleasant things. Her response: “You can either get behind me on this or you’re fired. I’m sorry, but that’s who I am. I’m God’s mouthpiece.” (Note: those people no longer work for her.)

Once she became known for children’s issues, her new publicist got a call from the organization Childhelp USA, which assists victims of child abuse through education, treatment, and prevention programs. They asked if Lilley would be a celebrity ambassador for them. She told me, “I research every charity that I endorse because in Proverbs it says you only have your name. You shouldn’t just lend your name willy-nilly to these charities that [might be] deceptive…I told my publicist, ‘Tell them I want to see their tax returns for the last four years.’” Lilley was happy to discover that Childhelp has been around for 60 years and has provided safety and healing to 11 million children.

Motivated by James 1:27 – the Scripture verse that says, “Pure religion that’s undefiled before the Lord is this: caring for orphans and widows in their distress” – Lilley and her husband Jason joined Childhelp’s mentoring program, which includes “children who have been so abused and neglected that the government renders them [unable to be rehabilitated]. They’re at their last stop before they go into Juvenile Hall. And I’m talking Juvenile Hall at eight years old!”

Childhelp’s founders, Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, refused to give up on these kids because they believed God made us all “a new creation” and that redemption was possible. With a great deal of love and therapy, notes Lilley, “these kids go on to become teachers and senators and amazing people.” Lilley and Jason soon decided to become foster parents themselves, welcoming a baby boy into their home. The joy and fulfillment he has brought into their lives has reminded the admittedly “workaholic” actress about the importance of family.

One thing is certain about Jen Lilley. She has her priorities straight, and she won’t let anyone stop her from speaking up about and living her faith in a selfless, loving way.

 For free copies of the Christopher News Note WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET ME SOW LOVE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: [email protected]                        

Tony Rossi is director of communications for The Christophers.

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By Tony Rossi

Jen Lilley didn’t just play a mom in her recent Hallmark Channel movie “Harvest Love,” she became a foster parent in real life because of her passion for children in the most vulnerable circumstances. Growing up, her family’s home sometimes served as a “safe house” for youth because her father was a judge, and her mother ran a crisis pregnancy center that helped young women going through unplanned pregnancies choose life for their unborn babies – or offered them counseling if they had already chosen otherwise.

As Lilley gained fame for roles on “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives,” she made charity work a vital part of her life, focusing at first on water charities overseas. But then she felt the Holy Spirit asking her, “Who in your own neighborhood needs help?” After investigating non-profits, she discovered the Innocent Justice Foundation, which goes after child pornographers. That’s when she learned that the United States is the number one supplier of child pornography in the world. “The average victim is under the age of four,” she told me during a “Christopher Closeup” interview. “I remember being in my home office and just weeping…[and asking], ‘How is no one talking about this?’”

That’s why Lilley decided to speak up, which led her publicists to tell her to stop it because the general public doesn’t want to hear about such unpleasant things. Her response: “You can either get behind me on this or you’re fired. I’m sorry, but that’s who I am. I’m God’s mouthpiece.” (Note: those people no longer work for her.)

Once she became known for children’s issues, her new publicist got a call from the organization Childhelp USA, which assists victims of child abuse through education, treatment, and prevention programs. They asked if Lilley would be a celebrity ambassador for them. She told me, “I research every charity that I endorse because in Proverbs it says you only have your name. You shouldn’t just lend your name willy-nilly to these charities that [might be] deceptive…I told my publicist, ‘Tell them I want to see their tax returns for the last four years.’” Lilley was happy to discover that Childhelp has been around for 60 years and has provided safety and healing to 11 million children.

Motivated by James 1:27 – the Scripture verse that says, “Pure religion that’s undefiled before the Lord is this: caring for orphans and widows in their distress” – Lilley and her husband Jason joined Childhelp’s mentoring program, which includes “children who have been so abused and neglected that the government renders them [unable to be rehabilitated]. They’re at their last stop before they go into Juvenile Hall. And I’m talking Juvenile Hall at eight years old!”

Childhelp’s founders, Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, refused to give up on these kids because they believed God made us all “a new creation” and that redemption was possible. With a great deal of love and therapy, notes Lilley, “these kids go on to become teachers and senators and amazing people.” Lilley and Jason soon decided to become foster parents themselves, welcoming a baby boy into their home. The joy and fulfillment he has brought into their lives has reminded the admittedly “workaholic” actress about the importance of family.

One thing is certain about Jen Lilley. She has her priorities straight, and she won’t let anyone stop her from speaking up about and living her faith in a selfless, loving way.

 For free copies of the Christopher News Note WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET ME SOW LOVE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: [email protected]                        

Tony Rossi is director of communications for The Christophers.

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