“When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,”’ she said, “‘come and stay at my house.”
~ Acts 16:15


Hi James and Ellen,

About four months after your grandmaa and grandpaa joined the South American Mission field missionary team that is in Bolivia, a natural disaster occurred in Bolivia. During days and days of constant rain, the torrents of water that gushed over the sides and down the steep buttes that tower over the communities of Portón and Chochís pushed and carried massive stones that gorged out wide and deep ravines. Houses were demolished. Guys, gals and kids were killed. A number of weeks after this calamitous event, Brandon Rills, Timothy Eckland and your grandpaa traveled by train as far as they could – which was to Portón. Brandon, Timothy and your grandpaa walked the final seven kilometers from Portón to Chochís – having to go down and up deep ravines that were carved out by the strength of water pouring down from the tops of the buttes. Your grandpaa was asked a number of months later by James Davids – who was the South American Mission field missionary team Field Director, to go to Chochís every six weeks or so as a minor ministry allocation. Over the next eleven plus years, your grandpaa visited this railroad community somewhere around thirty times. The only way to get to Chochís was by train. Your grandpaa usually took the rápido to get to Chochís. It would take the rápido eighteen hours – at least, to get from Santa Cruz – which is where your grandpaa and grandmaa were living at this time, to Chochís. Your grandpaa would usually take with him another guy – guys like Jesús García, Aurelio Cabrera, Raúl Pedraza or another missionary, when he went to Chochís – where your grandpaa would spend three or four days each time that he went there. Your grandpaa would also take each year’s seven plus week Bolivia summer team of college age guys and gals to Chochís. With a high, steep butte looming hundreds of feet up not far to the east of Chochís and a panoramic view falling away to the west of Chochís, Chochís was a very interesting place to spend a couple of days. The Chochís Christ-follower community of guys and gals was an eclectic group. The rich rancher was the most influential guy in the Chochís Christ-follower community of guys and gals. Enrique Klava was a tall, skinny Latvian who farmed a small parcel of land that was located about three kilometers up and around the right side of the ever present, brooding butte where Enrique had a dilapidating mud brick house and several head of livestock. Miquel was one of Chochís’ officials. Miquel and his wife lived in a ramshackle, swaybacked roof, dirt floor adobe house with their seven kids. The first two guys who your grandpaa baptized in Bolivia were members of the Chochís Christ-follower community of guys and gals. One guy had been the town drunk while the other guy was living with a gal who he could not marry because he did not have the money to divorce the first gal who he married – who was living with and had kids with another guy.

Paul was tooling along on his second missionary journey – hoping to go to Bithynia, when he got a message from God – as God the Spirit, to go to Troas instead. Luke wrote in Acts 16 that Paul the night that he was in Troas had a vision of a Macedonian guy pleading for his help. While Paul was in Lystra, Paul met a young Christ-follower who he invited to go with him on his second missionary venture. The young Christ-follower’s name was Timothy. Paul’s vision had him head directly to the Macedonian region. After taking a ship to Samothrace and then going on the next day to Neapolis, Paul, Silas – who had joined Paul when Paul began his second missionary journey, and Timothy continued the Macedonian leg of Paul’s second missionary journey by going on to Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony and a key Macedonian city. While they were in Philippi, Paul and his two cronies decided to walk to a nearby river – which was the Gangites River, where they found some gals praying together. This prayer ‘meeting’ was being led by a businesswoman. Lydia was a merchant from Thyatira. Lydia would go to different communities to sell royal purple or crimson cloth. After Paul talked to Lydia about her beliefs as a Christ-follower, it sank into Lydia’s heart that what she had been believing as a Christ-follower was true. It resulted in Lydia and Lydia’s family being baptized. Lydia then told Paul and his entourage – which apparently included Luke, because Luke wrote in what is now verse 15, “When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,”’ she said, “‘come and stay at my house.”’ And she persuaded us.” The guys and gals who made up the Philippi Christ-follower community had a young gal join their fellowship after the gal had Paul deliver her from a ‘python’ spirit. A ‘python’ spirit was a demonic spirit that was associated with the Delphic oracle. A guy or gal who had a ‘python’ spirit supposedly could throw his or her voice – like a ventriloquist, as if another guy or gal was speaking. Paul and Silas ended up in jail after the owners of the young demonically plagued gal got mad at them for removing the demonic spirit from their property. Before they were stuck in the town jail, the local town magistrates ordered Paul and Silas to be stripped, beaten and viciously flogged. At midnight that night as Paul and Silas were sitting in their cell praying and singing hymns, a violent earthquake caused the prison doors to fly open and the chains to pop loose from the jail’s prisoners. When the jailor woke up and saw that the prison doors were wide open, he was all set to kill himself – as he thought the prisoners had gotten away, when Paul stopped him. Because of this happening, the jailer and his family became Christ followers and they were all baptized.

Your grandpaa has experienced God – as God the Spirit, prompting him to do something. Your grandpaa can recall experiences that he and your grandmaa have had where God intervened in inexplicable ways to help them.

Acts 16 (637)