“Can you take it?”

Written by Arlene Updyke, Emeritus missionary to Ghana and North America

In life’s journey as we travel, we are brought up short with challenges for which God’s Word has the answers. 

Before he asked me to marry him, my husband Ken asked, “Can you take it?” The village where we lived for eight years, Tumu, tested that. Located in the northern border of Ghana, Tumu had one gas pump, one small Syrian store, and two markets—a small daily one and a larger one held every six days per Muslim custom. We saw God working, but initially the work went down due to the transfer of the resident missionary greatly loved by the people. We were the newbies, strangers. We saw attendance in the local church drop dramatically. Arriving in the dry season, there was no fresh produce in the market.

I complained to God, “I have a four-year-old son. How can I give him a healthy diet? Help me, Father.” The answer from the Bible gave me peace and direction. “I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” So I learned lessons of contentment. That little boy now is a pastor in North Carolina.

The work continued to decline. One morning I stood on the veranda and talked with my God. “Father, I can’t stay here three years let alone four!” Later our houseboy said, “Madam, the people are asking how long you will be here.” I replied, “Bawa, you can tell them that by the grace of God, we will be here four years.” And we were. “I will say of the LORD, he is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I will trust.”

We served in Tumu eight years and left a thriving church shepherded by a local pastor, a youth program, a Bible bookstore, and a small book of Bible stories in the local language. 

“Let all that is within me praise the LORD.” So His book guides us, reminding us of who He is and how He takes care of us and provides as we travel on our way to His side.