In honor of AWOLs FOURTH birthday Sunday, February 14th, this is the story of how it all began..
I heard about modern day slavery, but I wasn’t really affected by it. It’s one of those things… if you don’t see it, you aren’t really affected by it. Out of sight… out of mind! I thought slavery was this far off distant illusion, or better yet, that statistics were fudged. I remember thinking of Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation of proclamation I had studied in grade school. Slavery was abolished and if it wasn’t abolished, it certainly wasn’t happening in America.
I can’t think of anything in my life I’ve ever been so wrong about.
It was 4 years ago; I had just moved to Detroit, MI from Austin, TX, and was solely focused on serving the homeless community. I’m a mover and a shaker, always dreaming, always busy. Within months of living in Detroit I had taken on numerous responsibilities and really felt like I needed to chill out for a bit and be still. I felt in my heart God was preparing me for a BIG thing.
Month one into this whole stillness gig, I was invited to hear Rob Morris speak, the founder of an anti-trafficking organization. During Rob’s speaking engagement, he said two things that forever changed my life. He said that in 2011 Americans spent $16 billion dollars on Valentines Day and that in the same year, 27 million people were trafficked, an industry comprised of $32 billion dollars. I pondered the math in my head and thought to myself..
The United States of America, one country, spent half the cost of an industry that enslaves 27 million people, on one day, to show one person they were loved.
Think about that. Americans spend $16 billion on one day for one person.
Rob continued his message and went on to say that ‘ending human trafficking is not idealistic of naive, it is audacious and it is people of audacity that change the world’. I walked out of that church and said, God, if I’m going to do anything for You, I want it to be audacious.
I went home and began to research modern day slavery. My heart began to break more and more with every statistic I read. I thought, ‘how is this even possible, in the land of the free…. How are men and women being trafficked in the 21st century, how are there more slaves today than ever before in history’. The reality was, sex-trafficking was real. Slavery was not abolished. It wasn’t something far off and distant, it was real and it was happening literally in my backyard. It wasn’t a 3rd world problem, it was an American problem.
The next night I was co-hosting a women’s bible study with my roommate. While we were getting settled a friend asked if I had any plans for valentines day the following week… that poor, poor girl… because this righteous anger came over me as I responded, “I’m never celebrating valentines day again, did you know…..” and she just stared at me like the crazy person I was.. Thank God I wasn’t leading that night, because I just sat there and didn’t pay any attention at all. Instead I did what you do nowadays when you’re mad about something, I went to facebook. I created this event page called worthy of love and listed all these facts about sex trafficking and I challenged my peers to donate to a cause that was combating human trafficking rather than purchasing a gift for their significant other. I invited all my friends at the time, which was about 600, so I probably knew like half of them in real life. Over night the event doubled and by Valentines Day the event had grown from 600 people to 7,000 people. When it was all said and done, the resounding question was, what are you going to do about it now. Naturally, I said, well, nothing, I’m in a season of stillness, God is preparing me for something big.
A few weeks later, a girl came up to me in church and said, “I really feel like you are going to go to Thailand”, I laughed, in her face, and said “anywhere but Asia”. That night I was researching facts about human trafficking and came across this mission trip to go to the red light district to minister to women entangled in prostitution, the 2nd most common form of sex-trafficking. I clicked it so fast, with such a bolt in my heart, and then saw it was to Thailand… I thought, dagumit, why did I click this!!! I felt like I had to apply. An interview was scheduled a week later and I thought, if I didn’t pray about it, I wouldn’t have to go. So about 15 minutes before the call I leveled with God, I told Him, ‘look, I have zero desire to go to Thailand, so if you want me to go, you’re going to have to make it undeniably clear”. About 10 minutes into the call, the lady interrupts me as I’m talking and says, “I never do this, but I just feel like you’re calling on this trip is undeniably clear”. So, I went to Thailand.
While in Asia, I felt like the Lord revealed a lot of His heart to me to reach and rescue the enslaved. One of the greatest revelations took place as I walked down the street of the 2nd most notorious red light district in the world, I felt like God said told me He took me to the worst of the worst so I could learn, but I was to go home and do something about it in my own city. I came home and felt like I had finally come to the place where I was ok with starting a ministry. I went to a prayer & worship night and prayed for the men and women in Detroit that were being sexually exploited through prostitution, that they would know they were worthy of love. A week later, I received this facebook message form one of the worship leaders at that prayer night. We had never met, but she felt like the Lord had impressed on her and her fiancés hearts to tithe to me from their wedding to make worthy of love a non-profit and reach out to prostitutes.
Excited, I looked up all these outlets for worthy of love and none were available. Honestly, I was relieved. I thought, sweet, I’m off the hook! That night, I went to sleep and I had this dream, and in this dream I saw the most massive hands I’d ever seen before and on them were the fingerprints of every single person ever misplaced through slavery. What God was showing me was that it’s not enough that they are worthy of love, it’s that they are ALL worthy of love and He knows every single one of them by name. I woke up the next morning, checked online and all worthy of love was 100% available!
I began the process of making AWOL a non profit…. The cost, it was exactly, to the penny, the amount of the check the couple mailed me from their wedding tithe.
God is in the details – this ministry has been His vision, His plan, and His heart since the very beginning.
Founder, All Worthy of Love
Lindsey Fischer founded All Worthy of Love (AWOL), a non-profit organization that reaches to those enslaved by prostitution through local weekly outreach. Her desire is to facilitate a platform that activates others to live out what God has called them to do, reach the least of these. Lindsey passionately speaks across the United States as an advocate for the 27 million enslaved educating others and empowering them to join God in His work to set the captives free. Lindsey currently serves on the Citizens Advisory Board of Human Trafficking for the State of Michigan and has testified before the Michigan Senate to influence new laws and better protect victims of trafficking. Through AWOL, she has seen the Kingdom of God forcefully advance and broken dwellings restored. She believes that the Church is God’s answer to injustice and that today is the day for a great exodus. Lindsey loves to laugh and believes there is no such thing as too much joy!