On the night before our last day at the clinic in Haiti, I prayed for God to give me a scripture for Marc. I wanted to give him a gift, for—in the four days we worked together—he had grown dear to me. We sat, shoulder to shoulder each day; listening intently to the patients we served. He quickly learned to anticipate any questions I might have to clarify their complaints and he was eager to learn. His tender heart and quick smile made the long days go quickly. I was grateful to have Marc as my interpreter, but I was ever more glad to have gained a new brother and friend.
I wanted to give Marc a gift, but after considering and talking to different team members, it was decided that unless I had something for all the Haitian workers, I should probably refrain. The ministry I worked with had done a beautiful job of establishing close relationships with the people and their community. I did not want to risk damaging that in any way.
Besides, I had no idea what a young Haitian man would need or want. How could I when I barely understood this way of living? My new friend told me some about his life, about his family, about his hopes and dreams; but how could I understand the immense barriers he struggled against every day?
The Haitian people struggle with things that I take for granted every day. Since returning from Haiti, even sipping from a glass of clean ice water has new meaning to me. According to a study conducted by The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, “… only 55.2 percent of the population has access to an improved water source, while close to 70 percent does not have direct access to potable water. These figures, however, almost definitely overstate Haitians’ access to improved water sources, since public systems are rarely available year round.”
What kind of gift do you give to someone who lives amidst such a basic lack? I did not know Marc’s particular circumstances. It was not his way to speak of hardship—he was grateful to be working and learning from us. Marc had been to University, but his family could not regularly afford the tuition and so he was on a break from school when I met him. He had studied graphic design and spoke to me of his dream to grow these skills. He had worked at different jobs, but good employment in Haiti is difficult to find.
I knew the best gift I could give Marc would be something to help him with his education, but I had no idea what that might be. I wanted to give Mark something, so I prayed before our last day together that God would give me a scripture for him. God not only brought one scripture to mind, but two: Isaiah 64:8 and Jeremiah 18:1-6. These are Potter and Clay verses.
So, the next day when we had a break, I took Marc’s hand and prayed a version of this blessing over him:
“It is not you who shape God;
it is God who shapes you.
If then you are the work of God,
await the hand of the Artist
who does all things in due season.
Offer the Potter your heart,
soft and tractable,
and keep the form
in which the Artist has fashioned you.
Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose