All The Way In The Loving Care Of The Gentle Shepherd
Christine Marjorie Ludlow, who went to be with the Lord on February 15, 2014, faced many difficult challenges in her life. However, she kept her eyes focused on the Lord and persevered in her faith to the very end. God quickened to her various promises from His Word which she grasped hold of for the strength to be counted an overcomer.
Lois Stucky, who worked with her during Christine’s 41 years of service with Herald of His Coming, has written the following overview in tribute to Christine’s life and faith:
Christine was blessed to have a genuine faith in God and His Word such as dwelt first in at least one of her ancestral grandmothers in England who had been part of Charles H. Spurgeon’s congregation. So kindled was she by Spurgeon’s ministry that she took courage and became a good witness, going even into public houses (or bars we would say), to hand out Gospel tracts. She could well have been a lady who prayed for her posterity and invoked God’s saving and keeping work in their lives.
Christine’s father, Alfred Ludlow, was the youngest of the three brothers yet living in one family who were descendants of this zealous lady. The parents of the boys died when the boys were rather young and Alfred went to live with his father’s family. When World War II came along, Alfred was called into military service and marched off to the front. En route the soldiers stayed at a small hotel owned by Mrs. Rosetta Greening. Alfred became acquainted with the hotel maid Marjorie. The friendship deepened but Alfred did not know what might happen to him at the battle front and so he asked her if she would wait until he returned to claim her as his bride. She agreed.
At the end of the war, Alfred returned and they married. To their union Christine was born on September 28, 1950, in Maidstone, Kent, England. Unfortunately, Alfred seemed unable to find and hold a job and establish a home for his family. Christine’s early years were unstable, "from pillar to post."
One Saturday afternoon Christine’s parents were on the street selling newspapers, when Rosetta Greening came by and recognized her former hotel maid. Marjorie broke down in tears and told of Alfred’s joblessness. By that time Mrs. Greening had gone to Bible School and had a sizeable home where she would entertain visiting ministers and where there was a little chapel in which she ministered. She hired the Ludlows to help her, he with yard work primarily and Marjorie in the home. Mrs. Greening provided living quarters for the family in her home, and Christine at last had a room of her own.
One day when Christine was about 9 years old, an evangelist visiting in the home, told them the story of Jesus and how He gave His life on Calvary that all who repent and believe will receive eternal life. "Oh, Mum and Daddy, that is a wonderful story!" Christine said in effect in simple childlike faith. "Let’s give our lives to the Lord!" The little family all prayed for God’s forgiveness and put their trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was a red-letter day in the lives of them all! They became helpers to Mrs. Greening in the Sunday school which she conducted for children on Sunday afternoons.
Mrs. Greening was a woman of faith and felt a call to serve God. When Christine was 11 years old, Mrs. Greening was planning a trip to the USA in response to an invitation she had received from an American minister. She asked Christine’s parents if Christine could go with her as a traveling companion. Apparently it was a common practice for women of means to take a young girl along for companionship and for help she might be able to give. Her parents hesitantly agreed and signed over the guardianship of Christine to Mrs. Greening, and Christine was soon on an ocean liner en route to America. They weathered a storm which was frightening to a young girl but seeing God bring them safely through encouraged her to trust in the Lord even through the storms of life.
Landing in New York, they boarded a bus headed for Los Angeles. About 1:30 in the morning, in Ohio, their bus collided with a vehicle not fully off the highway. The bus went over an embankment, flipping over. There was only time to call out "Jesus, help!" The bus landed on its wheels, the passengers and their belongings tumbled out into the aisle. In the panic of the pitch-black moment with the bus reeking with gasoline fumes, someone lit a match, but it was extinguished before igniting the fumes. On board were some soldiers and with their heavy boots they knocked out the windows and rescued the travelers. An apparently polite man helped Mrs. Greening and Christine up the embankment but absconded with Mrs. Greening’s briefcase with their passports and cash. After the climb back up the embankment, emergency vehicles lining the highway whisked passengers off to hospitals. Christine spent several days in the hospital but a kind lady reading of the accident took Christine into her home and bought her some clothes. The Red Cross was very helpful in getting new passports for them. After Mrs. Greening was released from the hospital they traveled on to Los Angeles, very thankful to the Lord for bringing them through such a harrowing experience safely, strengthening their faith in the Lord’s help.
When Christine was thirteen years old, Mrs. Greening was coming to the U.S.A. again, this time to make it her home. Christine was eager to accompany her again. She entered school in Los Angeles and graduated from high school in due time and got a job through a friend who was retiring. However, it meant leaving home on foot before daylight in the winter and changing buses in downtown Los Angeles. The two years she kept that schedule there were times of anxiety, but God gave her courage to persevere.
In 1972 Mrs. Greening thought of the possibility of Christine joining the Herald of His Coming ministry. God was obviously in this. We at the Herald had been praying for a young person who could help read and handle mail (written in English) that came from Africa and other foreign countries. Christine joined the Herald staff in the fall of 1972. From the energetic labors of her youth, when she industriously did the lowliest of assignments given her to do, until her latter years when failing health caused her to slow down and take rest breaks – she conscientiously, cheerfully served to the limit of her strength in a variety of ways in the office or mail room in loving service to Jesus.
In 1973 her mother passed away in England and she tried to persuade her father to come live in America, but he was too attached to his homeland. She felt God had called her to work at the Herald and her heart was set to fulfill that calling, so she returned from England without him. After some years he remarried.
In the early 1980’s Christine had a happy surprise when a letter from her father informed her that he had been reunited with his two brothers after 50 years of no contact. When Alfred had returned from the war and did not find his family he assumed they had died in the bombings of London. Before they found one another both brothers were led of God to Australia. In 1984 they planned a reunion there. Christine traveled to Australia for a month and her father and stepmother came from England. In Australia she met three cousins and their families and two aunts and uncles she did not previously know she had. Christine was delighted to find her family in Australia were born again Christians, one retired from serving as an Assembly of God pastor, and the other active in the Salvation Army. Such love and conversation flowed in that happy month. In the early 2000’s Christine was able to visit again for 3 weeks in Australia. By that time only one of the three brothers, the oldest, Frank, was living. It, too, was a time of much happiness with her remaining relatives.
In 2002 Christine realized she had some problem in her abdomen, and when she went for medical help, ovarian cancer was discovered. On the day she had major surgery, as nurses wheeled her to surgery from the hospital room where friends were gathered to encourage and pray with her, she said to the Lord something like, "Lord, I’ve not been this way before. It is just You and me now, and I’m trusting in You to see me through." Following surgery and 4 preventative chemos to kill any cancer cells that had escaped, the cancer was in remission for 7 years. Her family doctor called it a miracle. He had helped with the surgery and knew the size of the malignant tumors and the prognosis for ovarian cancer.
After seven years, the cancer reappeared and further surgery was needed to remove tumors, which had affected other organs of her body. Many treatments followed. Chemotherapy would bring the cancer marker down and she would have a respite from the treatments for a short time, but then the markers would spike again. Treatment followed treatment. Skillful and caring medical personnel were very encouraging and helpful, but at last the point was reached when there was nothing further they could do to help. For twelve years she had hoped and prayed for divine healing, and many friends and Australian family stood with us in faith and prayer for this. We are very thankful for all of you who agreed with us in this.
But it is also faith when we leave our times in His all-wise hands. Our dear Christine, so enjoying people and winning friends by her warm friendliness; so lively and energetic and interested in music and anything electronic; so full of admiration for God’s beautiful handiwork all around, including the animals He created; so ready to share the Gospel that was dear to her with hungry hearts who wrote for help – at last she was ready to leave it all. Her weary and weak body cried out for relief, although in God’s mercy, she had little pain. Pain patches provided by hospice helped with that. She was ready to respond to God’s call, "Come away, My beloved."
Christine occasionally mentioned through the years the rare times when she was a child that the little family of three would take a train about 35 miles to London for a little sightseeing. One interest was Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards. As a girl, she would likely think of the kings and queens and princesses and princes behind those guarded gates. As a commoner, she could only imagine what was going on inside the palace. As she grew older she learned something of the protocol – men bowing to the queen, women curtsying, not extending your hand to shake hers unless she extended her hand first, the great pomp and ceremony with which she opens Parliament, etc. Christine could only hear and read about it and that she enjoyed doing. It seemed to instill in Christine a sense of the honor that is due royalty. She felt earth’s true Majesty, the Lord God, worthy of greatest respect, esteem and worship.
And now! It is we who can only imagine. Christine no longer stands outside, but has been ushered into the very presence of His Majesty, the King of kings and Lord of lords! The struggles, the battles are over and into her flows life, real life, in an atmosphere of unspeakable glory. Oh, the wonder of it all! If we have received Christ as our personal Savior, we, too, will one day enter into the wonder of being at home with the Lord for eternity! God will faithfully lead us through. It is up to us to faithfully follow.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psa. 23:1, 6).