Learning to Seek and Serve Sex Trafficking Victims

February 25, 2019

A StartNew Community Success Story

Ellinger Deb2

The following is an interview with Deb Ellinger, StartNew Incubator team leader alumni. Deb is the Founder of Elli’s House, a street outreach ministry and home for women involved in sex trafficking in Detroit.

What was your absolute biggest challenge surrounding your new start or ministry prior to partnering with FiveTwo Network?  

The biggest challenge for us was funding and the confidence that we could actually take on this project. We really didn’t even know where to begin.  We had no business plan, no secured funding, and no idea what we were doing just to get started.

How did that challenge make you feel?  

The challenge made me feel unequipped, unsure and fearful.

How did you to try to solve that challenge on your own?

I tried solving the challenge by TRYING not to attend the Three day workshop and just not starting Elli’s House at all. I talked to Bill the night before the Three Day to let him know our team wouldn’t be coming. We just didn’t think we could do it. But, of course, Bill convinced me to attend.

How has being a member of the FiveTwo Incubator changed you and helped you grow your God-Given Dream?

FiveTwo has allowed me to identify my gifts and be confident in those gifts. I’ve learned how to create a team atmosphere and how to utilize each team members gifts and talents. We don’t all have the same gifts, and that is awesome! I also think FiveTwo allows me to be ME. I know what my weaknesses are and what my gifts are; I’m comfortable boasting about my weaknesses now.

How many people total have you baptized as a result of your new or re-started ministry?

We have around 200 interactions, a month, with men and women on the street. Although, none have been baptized, many have acknowledged they know Jesus is their Savior and have expressed the desire to grow deeper in their faith.

What was most surprising to you about the FiveTwo Incubator?

The most surprising thing to me was the support we received from FiveTwo, LCMS, my church, and area Lutheran Churches who heard about us from FiveTwo. I am also amazed at how many relationships we have developed with other startups and the support they have shown Elli’s House.

What accomplishment by your team are you the most proud of? Why?

One accomplishment I am very proud of is how a house was donated to us, and that house is set to open soon to house two women we have been ministering to on the streets. I am also very proud of the relationships we have developed with over 30 women on the streets. Women who now trust us and ask us to pray with them. Elli’s House Video

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