An interview with global worker, Cavell Rowsell in Thailand
During my early years in Thailand, it was not common to see children under the age of 14 in the church and when they attended the church leaders usually asked for them to be removed from the worship time since they were a bother and interfered with the service.
The focus of my ministry has been children! It took the route of encouraging the Thai church to see the importance of little children to God and training nationals to minister to/with this generation. Since the pastors did not know how to teach children or how to train teachers of children, Christian Education Curriculum was written to meet the needs of 6 age levels, Nursery, Kindergarten, Primary, Elementary, Teens and Youth. I have been a part of the Pentecostal Christian Education Network since its formation in 1985. Today the curriculum is posted online, and churches can now download materials rather than purchase them. Teacher training on how to use the curriculum has been a highlight and a major part of my ministry throughout my 39 years in Thailand.
Global workers have been at the centre of the development of the curriculum and in teacher training. I have had opportunity to train leaders at Thailand Pentecostal Seminar who have become the writers and trainers of the last 20 years. Local churches are opening their doors to children and youth. Ministry to children is the norm now, and ministry by children is becoming a reality.
I have had many pastors and church leaders who have told me that their first memory of me was when I came to their church to train teachers when they were 10, 11, 12 years of age. Since the pastors did not understand much about training, the children were included in the teacher training. Some responded to the invitation to accept Christ as the teachers were being trained in the importance of giving opportunity to each child to receive Christ as Saviour. Some were baptized in the Holy Spirit as we taught the teachers about the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Some were called to ministry and began their teaching ministries within these pioneer churches. Later, I had opportunity to teach many of these same young people as they came to study for ministry at Bible College and to return to do teacher training at churches that they have started.
I have also been the Director of ChildCARE Plus in Thailand since 2008. CCP has been the arm of mercy and compassion which has helped open the doors for church planters in many communities of Thailand. By giving aid to the children, church planters have been given a right to speak into the lives of communities. Children have been given new opportunities as they are being enabled to receive an education. Their families have been given a better standard of living as their lifestyles change. Many have decided that they want to follow the Jesus of their sponsors who have shown them God’s love.
The greatest obstacle/challenge when ministering to children has been the lack of understanding on the part of church leaders to involve the next generation in ministering together. As the church has grown, so the children’s ministry has grown. Children who have grown up in the church need to be involved in the ministry of the church as they reach their preteen years. Those churches who are providing ministry opportunities have a successful youth ministry. However, when churches try to continue ministering to teens without giving the opportunity for service, we see the youth walking away.
When children reach the age of 18 or when they graduate from high school, there is usually a great desire to continue study at university or Bible College. Without assistance, this is an impossible dream. The fast and easy way to pay for these expenses is through prostitution for both male or female. But I praise God that there are those sponsors who continue to support their sponsor child until they graduate from University.
- Please pray for the children and youth of this nation.
- Pray that there will be an increase in sponsors.
- Pray that there will be a way for teens to continue their education at a university.
Pray that youth stay resolute in their commitment to follow Jesus.
- Pray for churches as they continue to see the 4-14 generation as the Church today!