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Stories & Blog

The Power of “You're Welcome”

PAPUA, INDONESIA — Excitement filled the air as the people huddled together after the village’s Christmas program. One by one they lined up to receive their gift from Charlotte, a Crossworld worker.

On the outskirts of the festivities stood a tall, handsome man named Kripai with his family. Although Kripai’s wife had medical issues and sought help from Christian doctors, Kripai could see no reason he needed religion. “I wear Western clothes, I provide for my family and I can do all of the same things as you,” he reasoned. “I don’t need to believe in God up in heaven.”

Yet here Kripai stood with his wife and six children, watching Charlotte hand out gifts to each person in the village.

“I have gifts special for you,” Charlotte called out to Kripai. “I won’t give them to anyone else.”

It had taken 20 years for Charlotte to fully understand how to give and take in this village. Just a few months before, she had learned the importance of one phrase: gouy so veido. “You’re welcome.” For years she had wondered why people never said “thank you” when she gave them a gift. One day she asked and learned in that culture, the person giving says “you’re welcome” first, to express there’s no obligation to give back in return.

Charlotte decided to put her new phrase in practice at Christmas. Instead of leaving a crate of soap bars for each person to grab one like she did before, this year she handed each person their bar, said their name and added, “You’re welcome.”

Now it was Kripai’s turn. When he finally approached, Charlotte placed the soap in his hand and said, “Kripai, gouy so veido.” She turned to his wife and children and did the same, and with each presentation, joy lit their eyes. They had received gifts before, but this one was personal — Charlotte has paid special attention to each individual.

Kripai and his family went back to their village, but a few months later Charlotte learned they had accepted Christ and wanted to be baptized. When she saw them again, she noticed true transformation. “I could see the light of the gospel in their faces,” Charlotte said. “I could tell a difference.”

Whereas Kripai was once negative and critical, denying his need for a Savior, one personal gift changed his perspective and now he overflows in gratitude toward God. Charlotte later heard Kripai lead prayer at church and marveled at how he spoke in his own words and not from memorization. Charlotte said, “I’ve never heard such a beautiful heart-felt prayer about God and what he has done for them, what he means to them and how they want to live for him.” 

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