AnnetteAfter graduating from the program, Annette found restoration in her family and relationships. She took a job at the Mission, where she helps other women who struggle with the issues she once faced.
Annette didn’t celebrate Christmas for 13 years.
Trapped in prostitution, she started working the Seattle streets when she was just 14 years old. Growing up as the youngest of eight siblings, Annette often felt overlooked and ignored. During her first year of high school, Annette finally received some attention, although not the kind she was hoping for: she was pregnant. Somehow, she hid the secret from her family for over 6 months. But when her pregnant body became too obvious to hide, her parents found out. They were outraged, forcing her to have an abortion. “I felt like such a disgrace to my family,” she remembers.
Still bearing a burden of shame, she met a man at the school bus stop. “This guy introduced himself to me and was like, ‘Oh, you’re really pretty’ and all these things. I started believing him, so we exchanged numbers.” The two began meeting up secretly. “When he told me he would take care of me, I ended up running away from home,” Annette shared. “But a week after I ran away, this guy told me, ‘If you love me, you’ll do this. If you love me, you’ll do that.’ And that led to 13 years with the same guy in prostitution.”
Annette felt trapped . . . where would she go, and who would love her after living this lifestyle?
Fear kept her stuck. And the days turned into weeks, the weeks into years. During that time, Annette had two children. “I don’t remember any Christmases during that season. Probably because it didn’t mean anything. I was working the streets on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day,” Annette remembers sadly. Life for Annette seemed bleak. But thank God, a turning point came when one of Annette’s sisters became a Christian and began fervently praying for her. “I think those were seeds being planted in my life,” recalls Annette.
In and out of prison because of prostitution, Annette remembers crying out to God one night from jail. “I got on my knees, and I prayed because I was scared. ‘If you get me out of this . . .’ I just prayed. My pimp came to pick me up so he could take me back out to prostitution, but when I looked at him there was no fear.” Annette was miraculously delivered from the fear and lies that had kept her trapped in this destructive relationship!
A Christmas for Annette to remember at the Mission.
When Annette visited the Mission's shelter and recovery program for women and children, she knew immediately that she was supposed to be there. After years without a reason to celebrate, Annette remembers her first Christmas at Hope Place. “My first memory of Christmas morning was waking up, and there were tons of gifts outside our door. That made me cry. It was the most amazing experience.”
After graduating from the program, Annette found restoration in her family and relationships. She took a job at the Mission, where she helps other women who struggle with the issues she once faced. This Christmas, Annette has so much to be grateful for. “Christmas is getting together with my grandkids and my children. Preparing a meal. It’s something I look forward to.”