(Photo: Discovery Communications)
Annie Lobert worked for 16 years in the sex industry, battled cancer and got into drugs. But when she called out to Jesus from death's door, she found her Savior and the vision to comfort thousands of other victims of sex trade. She shares how she became "a virgin in Christ" in a new video on iamsecond.com.
Dressed in black and seated on a white couch, the 44-year-old founder of Hookers For Jesus appears in the nearly 14-minute video on the website that features the testimonies of personal struggle and transformation of celebrities and everyday people. She recalls she felt "I'll never ever be clean."
She had seen hardships since she was a girl. Raised in an abusive family, she turned to boys at school to find some self-worth. "I met this boy in school that stole my heart. He told me that if I slept with him that we'd get married... And when I found out that he was sleeping with several of my best girlfriends, it was such a shock to me," she says, as she narrates her story with emotions.
After graduation, Lobert moved away from home to Minneapolis. She was 18. "I had to work three jobs to have my own place and buy a car." She thought if she had nice clothes and went to the clubs, "maybe I could meet a rich guy that would sweep me off my feet and would take care of me like a prince would." She thought money was the answer to the "deep seated, rooted unforgiveness towards my dad, towards that boy in school. I just wanted revenge."
The lure of money pulled her into prostitution. During a vacation from her jobs, one night "I actually sold myself with my girlfriend to some Japanese clients and I became a prostitute." She wasn't happy with $3.47 an hour any longer "once I found out that I could make hundreds if not thousands of dollars, selling myself. $500 per hour with no attachment, no relationship, $1000 per hour, now it was $2000 per hour, it gave me this immense power and if you wanted me for the night it was $10,000."
One day, Lobert met a man at a club where she was a dancer. He claimed he was falling in love with her, and she thought she had found her prince. He took her to Las Vegas, where she learned he was actually a pimp. "He choked me. He threw me on the porch on my knees and he started kicking me. 'This is pimping 'B.' I am just choking on my own blood. 'You're going to work for me.' He's punching me in my face. 'I do not know what you thought what time it is, but what time it is now you're going to pay me.' My nose broke, my ribs broke. It was like I was looking at the devil. The prince turned dark. 'And if you try to leave, I'll kill you.'"
Lobert could get away from him after five long years, but "when you leave a pimp you leave with nothing." "I started stacking my money again, but the money was not the same. I came down with cancer [Hodgkin's Lymphoma]. And a couple years later lost all my hair. Had chemotherapy... And I got addicted to painkillers, and that led into cocaine. I was going on bald, with wigs, because I had lost all my hair from chemotherapy."
Once when she had an overdose of coke, she realized she needed a savior. "I went completely blind. It's like the whole room, the light that was on in that room turned dark. And I remember lying there and I felt like this demonic presence just come over me... I knew it was over. And I saw my family, I saw my funeral, and I was in the coffin. And everybody was crying. They were wiping their faces, and they were saying, 'She was just a prostitute.'"
That's when she cried out, "Jesus, please save me. I do not know if you are real, but I don't want to die." The ambulance arrived, and the doctor told her if God was not with her she would have died with so much drugs in her system. "And I knew that Jesus heard my prayer. And I laid there and I had this peace come over me, that was nothing like I had ever felt in my entire life. I knew God gave me a second chance."
Lobert got better and started reading the Bible. Initially, she thought she shouldn't go to church, as "I am an ex-prostitute." But when she did, Christians embraced her. "And God just really started doing that inner healing and the Holy Spirit was like speaking to me. Telling me that, 'I was beautiful, and that I was chosen and that I was set apart, that I was sanctified and I was a holy vessel for Him... I am a virgin in Him.'"
Soon, she heard God saying to her, "Annie, I want you to go back down to that strip. And I want you to tell the girls that are in slavery that I love them." So she went down to the strip and told the girls, "God loves you. No matter where you've been, no matter what you've done, no matter how deep, how dirty you feel, there is redemption."
Lobert founded Hooker For Jesus in January 2005 to address the realities of human sex trafficking, sexual violence, and exploitation linked to pornography and the sex industry. In June 2009, she got married to guitarist Oz Fox of the heavy metal Christian band Stryper.
Lobert concluded her story in just three lines. "Little girl lost, thought no one loved her, thought no one wanted her, ran away from her castle. But God met her on that dark road. He said, 'You can come home now. I am right here and I never left you.'"