GraceNotes
After following the Holy Spirit's leading into Macedonia, Paul made his first evangelistic contact with a small group of women.   Paul never allowed gender or cultural boundaries to keep him from preaching.  He preached to these women, and Lydia, an influential merchant, believed.  This opened the way for ministry in that region.  God often worked in and through women in the early church.  

On the Sabbath, we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.  We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.  One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.  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.  Acts 16:13 - 15