Y’all! I am SO excited to share with you the inaugural Warrior Witness Wednesday post, interviewing Annie Lobert, founder of the Ministry Hookers For Jesus and the non-profit Destiny House!
I won’t tell you too much, cause Just below is an interview where you’ll find out all about Annie, her ministries and SO MUCH MORE!
It is my prayer that you will be encouraged, that hope will fill you and that you can join us in giving honor and glory to God for his Amazing Grace, Love and Goodness!
So, without further adieu, I give you, an interview with Annie Lobert!
Kristen Neumann (KN): “So, I guess we can just jump right into it!
My first question is: Since this new weekly blog segment is Called “Warrior Woman Wednesday” and is for “Warrior Woman Ministries”, could you tell me, to you, what does it mean to be a Warrior Woman?”
Annie Lobert (AL): “To be a warrior woman, for me, is just picking up the broken pieces and marching forward and not letting the broken pieces stop you. Basically, throwing them in your backpack, using them as a testimony to put back together with gold to show everyone what can be made from your brokenness; which is a trophy! A Trophy of Grace! Don’t discredit your past. Don’t think it’s something that’s disgusting or embarrassing, use it as a platform to help other women overcome their issues! That’s a warrior/leader to me; that’s a warrior woman.”
KN: “I love that! Okay, my second question is; As I said, the goal of this new segment of our ministry is to testify how God has been faithful and brought women through trials and/or tragedy. Could you tell the readers a bit of your testimony and the trials you went through and how God brought you out?”
AL: “Basically, the trails are my entire life. It’s very simple to describe it like this: I was a girl that came from a very abusive home and I did not know who I was; my identity was not formed correctly as a young child. I was abused and then, also abused by some neighbors sexually and got into my teen years as a very promiscuous teen. I ended up becoming very successful at my job, but I started to go out to the night clubs for a release the anxiety of those feelings working my three jobs trying to make college money. My father actually did not give us college money and he spent the money that he did have on himself or his antique addiction. And so, what I ended up doing was I met some men in a bar with my friend and they were undercover sex traffickers. We thought they were business men and they coerced my girl friend into being turned out into the sex-trafficking game and I ended up going to Hawai’i to visit her and then I learned how to become a call-girl -“street walker”; it’s the same thing in Hawai’i because I was doing both.
I came back to Minnesota, quit all three of my jobs-that’s where I’m originally from- and I ended up becoming a call-girl in Minnesota and an exotic dancer and while I was exotic dancing I met my future trafficker-he was my boyfriend. But, he did not let me know he was a trafficker until we got down to Vegas and the first night at work, he took all my money, beat me down and he sex-trafficked me-and that was our relationship for the next five years.
Fast-forward another five years, I left him got with another man that was just as abusive; he sex-trafficked me for another five years and I ended up getting rescued out of the industry by a man that was a client. He was a trick-a buyer- and he taught me a business trade working on cars.
I did not have Christ in my heart from when I was a little girl. Where it first started I totally ran away from God as a young girl.
I started using drugs at the end of my sex-industry career being trafficked and I ended up over-dosing on August 2, 2003 because I had lost everything in our business and had never gotten anything that I worked so hard for, for both of my sex-traffickers; I basically left with nothing but the clothes on my back and I was pretty devastated at this point. I had major PTSD/Complex-Trauma; a very severe case of it, BUT! God is so good because, the moment that I overdosed on cocaine is the moment that I reacquainted myself with Jesus! Jesus became my savior, and I surrendered my life; all my drug abuse, all the sex-trafficking, unforgiveness for the pimp, my lifestyle itself and I became a brand new Woman of God!
So, the ministry started, actually, two years later. In 2005, I started doing outreach with Hookers For Jesus– that’s the name of the ministry, it’s based out of Matthew 14; “I will teach you how to fish for people”. And I started Destiny House in 2007 because the ladies didn’t have anywhere to go and I’ve been doing this ministry, basically, since 2005; our sex-trafficking ministry.
And, by-the-way, there were none like it of it’s kind; we were the first one…the very first! So, I had no-one to look up to, no blog to read, no leadership or someone to go to. It was basically plowing the hard ground, running a home, running a ministry, a non-profit and I have learned some very, very hard lessons along the way, but there are valuable lessons that I wouldn’t trade for the world!”
KN: “That is such an amazing testimony!”
AL: “Well, you know, Jesus…Jesus is the light in our life! He saves us from so much oppression!”
KN: My next question inext question is; What is some encouragement you can give to women who are facing trails in their own lives?
AL: One thing that I will never, ever forget is: Remember where you come from! Who is your daddy? You know, if God’s your savior-if Jesus saved you-here’s the thing, if Jesus saved you, he doesn’t just do it once, he does it more than once and you have to put your trust in him. The entire reason that we are who we are and what we do and why we live is now for a different purpose. Now there’s an assignment that we’ve been assigned by God and what are we doing within that assignment? If we’ve lost track of where we’re heading and the vision that God has given us on our new assignment on earth; the purpose and plan for our life from God himself, that’s when we get lost and off-track and discouraged. You’ve got to get your mind back on the vision; back on the priority God first gave you. If it’s to witness what God’s done in your life to other people, then be about that. If it’s to reach the people that you once were, then be about that. If it’s to do social justice change, then be about that. If it’s to change the political realm or the entertainment field as we know it-whatever that looks like-be about that and focus on that. But first, you priorities; you need to get centered in Christ’s love and what he’s already done for you and what is the main reason why you’re here? I think that when we do that and put our faith and trust in Christ, everything else becomes clear.
Our lens only gets foggy when we start doubting what he’s put inside us already.
I know that sounds kind of cliche in a way, but people get discouraged a lot of the time because they’ve let that unforgiveness, the trauma, the past mistakes and self-hate to creep back in. Whatever their testimony was or whatever cast them fire, they allow to take back over their life and they get in their flesh.
Basically, it’s a flesh and spirit battle and they’ve allowed the enemy to speak lies into their lives again.
As Joyce Meyers says, “It is a battlefield of the mind.” You have to keep your mind stayed on Christ Jesus; you have to get your mind back on God and he will take care of the rest!
There’s no excuses, by-the-way. We just have to get our minds back on the finished work of the cross and what Jesus has already done.”
KN: “Absolutely! Okay, you kind of covered this next question about what Destiny House is, so my next question is: Could you tell us more about how the readers can get involved in supporting Destiny House and your Ministry?”
AL: “First of all, they can pray for us, we really appreciate that. And we need all the prayer we can get. We are really getting close to expanding and have been growing very fast, but at the same time, it’s not a fast work. I’ve been at this for a long time already; we have our fifteen year anniversary of ministry coming up soon!
So, I think to describe Destiny House is that it is a place that God showed me to open up for women to dream again; so they didn’t have nightmares anymore, get rid of their PTSD and so they could dream and see visions of what God has for them and their future. And, discover who they are, discover their identity and what is their assignment; what has God called them to do and then develop into that person that God told them that they are.
Develop, develop, develop.
And in that process, they’re going to be healing. And then obviously at the very end of that: Destiny.
What is your destiny? What is your final destination because we need to start walking towards that.
Our Destination is eternity, and if our destination is eternity, what is it that we’re doing to walk towards that eternity? How are we living our lives and how are we going to live our lives now that we know we are going to live eternally and we have a purpose, plan and assignment from God?
Get that thing done. When you walk towards your purpose-your destiny-you end up fulfilling God’s dream and vision for your life.
That’s the whole premise of Destiny House, but honestly, it’s a place to heal, get stabilized, process the trauma and then reintegrate back into society as a Woman of God that can literally change the world as we know it!”
KN: “That is amazing!”
We also could obviously use donations. Not a lot of people give to survivor-led ministries, but we are survivor led!
A lot of people don’t support survivor-led initiatives because they don’t think that we know what we are doing. Yet, if you could put me next to someone with a PhD with the expertise that I know and have walked myself, I would be the expert, hands down, because I lived it.
There’s no price you can pay to know sex-trafficking unless you have been sex-trafficked yourself.
I know how to get out of it, I know the struggles that go with it and I know how to show the girls the light at the end of the tunnel because I’m in the light and I’m guiding them out.”
KN: “Yeah, you know it more intimately.”
So, the final thought- I see your final question,”
(Is there any final thoughts that you would like to share with our readers?)
“I am very appreciative of people like you that are interested in a survivor-led organization and that you have a heart for this type of thing because I really believe it’s people like you that are going to be helping up make a bigger impact and a better amount of a difference because of the fact that you’re interested and the fact that you’re honoring of a survivor.
When you honor a survivor of a terrible tragedy, you don’t know what kind of healing that brings not just the survivor, but the entire community of survivors. Now the survivors can trust people again; they can trust and love again people who haven’t been through what they have as friends and family of support.
That is something that we have a hard time doing in the beginning because people that have never been through what we’ve been through either they judge us; they think that we’re messed up, all full of trauma, they’re messy or they’re this or that. Or, they feel too sorry for us and they don’t think we’re capable of strength and courage. They don’t think we’re capable of running a business or running a ministry because of what we’ve been through.
But it’s just the opposite because it says in His word that God will take the foolish things and confound the wise. But also, that in our weaknesses he makes us stronger!
Just look at all the Champions of Faith that have risen up; Joyce Meyers, Beth Moore, Sheila Walsh and Lisa Bevere-Perfect examples of going through tragedies but yet letting God use their platform as a teaching tool; as a restorative tool.
I think that when we give survivors a platform, it changes so many more lives and I think that it’s really important that we continue to interview survivors-it supports them in their ministry that God calls them to do!”
I would like to say a HUGE “Thank You” to Annie and Nichole-the Project Coordinator for Hookers For Jesus (HFJ)-whom has been helping set everything up, from the interview itself to emailing back and forth with me to get everything just right!