After I surrendered my life to God in 2003, I started Hookers For Jesus in 2005 as a simple outreach of love to those who were stuck in a lifestyle like me—drowning the deep dark waters of sex trafficking. At the time—no one was practicing this type of ministry—reaching out to the “red letter” ladies of the night.
Because of this—the battle was on! I found out very quickly that this was a population of definitely marginalized by our society. I would speak at various public events about being a victim of trafficking—the looks of disbelief and judgment on some people’s faces were shocking! Believe it or not—some of these people that judged the most were Christians. However—there were great people who were disturbed by how some would rush so quickly to make an opinion of us and they would ask “How is this possible Annie—aren’t these the people that Jesus loved and hung out with?” Yes my friends, exactly.
Despite the fact that I received a lot of pushback and pre-judgments towards the women I was serving–It didn’t matter because I knew God was so much bigger than people’s opinions! God’s love had healed me and made me whole from sex trafficking—and I knew ladies like me needed this scandalous love and grace of Jesus too!
I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to start a safe house & healing home for women in 2007 called Destiny House. We did not physically own our first home—we were offered the “use” of a house that our former church owned.
In our first Destiny House, I was the house mom (House Case Managing Director) —I lived there on site. Day in and day out, I saw the serious pain of complex trauma being worked out with each lady as she worked through her healing. It was very heartbreaking and gut-wrenching! As hard as that was–there was a different type of struggle that was going on inside of me—we were so challenged financially as a ministry—and we never knew if there would be food on the table or gas to take the ladies to counseling and doctor appointments. I knew eventually something had to give!
And give it did! A few years later our safe house had to be shut down because of sex traffickers discovering the location—it was no longer a safe place to bring the ladies.
I was angry–upset—saddened—distraught. Where would we put the ladies we were helping? How would we find a new house? We didn’t have any money to purchase one! Did I need to shut the ministry down? All these questions harassed me and kept me sleepless at night. But somehow I knew that God had a plan for us—I just needed to seek Him and the direction He wanted to lead us.
I kept hearing God whisper to me, “You’ve been faithful in the little that I’ve given you—I will provide all of your needs for the ministry. Keep reaching the ladies and I’ll take care of the rest.”
So I waited. And waited. And prayed. I traveled, ministered, spoke, and wrote. And the one thing that I know God told me to do—I was faithful to keep reaching out and helping the abused ladies He put in my path.
I typed out a request on social media we were looking for a new Destiny House. It was crickets at first! But then I got an email, a phone call and a text—from three different people that all knew each other—they all knew us from work in our community and speaking events I had done. They wanted to meet with us about a property that was empty. I was overjoyed with excitement! When I first drove up to the potential new Destiny House—I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Not only was there a house on the property—but also an apartment and an additional house. And a pool, a waterfall, walking paths—could it get any better than this?
We received the keys in 2013—and HFJ moved in. A newer Destiny House was born! Sure we didn’t outright own it—but the owner’s had us sign a contract for 2 years that stated if we did what they asked by keeping the ministry going—they would GIFT us the property. They were so incredibly generous and also decided to give us seed money to start!
During the two year contract—we had many ups and downs financially. In 2015 we hit a financial crisis—and there were no finances in our account to pay our staff’s payroll and work our remaining budget. Wouldn’t this mean we would have to shut Destiny House down? What were we going to do? Would God show up?
Personally, I had a settlement that I inherited that was planned to and it was supposed to be used as a down payment to purchase my husband’s and my first home. As much as I wanted to get our dream home—I knew that God was prompting me to give up my dream for the ladies I was serving. Their dream of being free, healed and delivered.
As uncomfortable as it was and as scary as it felt, I obeyed. I know that I made the right choice—because after we generously gave everything we could afford to the Destiny House–I will never forget I heard when I pulled up to the Destiny House property and parked.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matt 6:19-21
So it was confirmed in my heart. Because I was willing to sow a seed into the Destiny House and not worry about storing up a treasure for myself and my personal dream home—God would make sure we wouldn’t have to shut down Destiny House and our gift would reap souls for heaven!
Ultimately it’s not about us and our comfort—our personal dream. It’s about the eternal things that will last forever—saving lives out of the horrendous abuses of sex trafficking into a kingdom of love, freedom and new life!
What happened next was miraculous. We got the phone call very shortly after I gave our dream away to keep another’s dream of freedom alive. We were officially given the property and houses—they were signed over to us! What a great God we serve!
I don’t know what would have happened had I not stepped out in faith to answer the request to God to give where it hurt the most—but I do know that because I obeyed, my faith has grown leaps and bounds.
Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. 2 Cor 9:6
What is God asking you to sow today that is going to hurt your personal dream in order to fulfill God’s dream for someone else?
How much more will God move in our lives if we would just be willing to be outrageously generous?