She Ran a Good Race
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
After eight years of service in Russia by thousands of ATI students and families, God chose to take home one of the most dedicated of them all. On the morning of October 2, 1999, Kristin Allen, age 22; her sister Kathryn, age 18; Anya, an orphan girl; and Mrs. Sullivan, a staff mother, were at a bus stop on their way to visit a Russian family.
Out of the corner of her eye, Mrs. Sullivan saw a car careening over the curb and heading directly toward them. She snatched Anya away, but the car hit Kristin and Kathryn. The impact threw Kristin against a cement post, killing her instantly. Both of Kathryn’s legs were fractured just below her hips. She also suffered a concussion and multiple lacerations. The drunken driver fled the scene, but witnesses pursued him. Today he is in the custody of the Moscow police.
Throughout our years of work in Russia, ATI students have demonstrated courage in the face of much danger. However, we have always been confident that God has brought us to this door of incredible opportunity and that we are under the protection of His will to serve the Russian people. This commitment has been a vital testimony to Russian officials, parents, and students.
Someone has observed that the most powerful people on the face of the earth are those who have no fear of death. It is for this purpose that Jesus gave his life: to “… deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). The Apostle Paul explained how he conquered his fear of death. His goal in life was to know Christ, and dying would achieve this goal. Kristin achieved that goal on October 2, 1999. However, we are left to ask the question, Why would God take Kristin at such a young age?
Kristin’s father, Robert, stated that “for years she had a significant burden for Russia, and after going there the first time, she never seemed to be completely at home back in the States.” She learned the Russian language and dedicated herself to fulfilling the call to work with Russian youth. The last thing she did before her homegoing was to lead Igor, a Russian orphan, to Christ.
Kristin served in Russia over a four-year period. When news of her homegoing reached other ATI students, there was an outpouring of praise, tears, and testimonies about the powerful ministry that Kristin had in the lives of so many.
Amy Wright, who grew up with Kristin and served two years with her in Russia, recalled the verse that Kristin wrote to her in her journal, “ I know the thoughts that I think toward you… thoughts of peace, and not of evil… . Before I formed thee… I knew thee; and… sanctified thee… a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 29:11, 1:5).
Tiffany Cole, who also worked with Kristin, stated through her tears, “She was such a Godly example to all of us. She was so transparent and pure. She always had a radiant smile.”
Sometimes God Removes Those With Great Character So We Can Study Their Lives
Kristin had an amazing reputation for purity, joy, and genuine love for all those around her. The development of her character has a significant story.
When her father was a teenager, his mother asked him if he had ever thought to pray for the one who would be his future wife. He began doing that and soon identified character qualities that he would want her to demonstrate. When he saw an angry mother yelling at her children in a grocery store, he would pray, “Lord, please protect the one I marry from a temper such as hers.”
The day he met Linnea, he instantly recognized the character that her parents had instilled in her and that resulted from her walk with the Lord. As their daughters were born, Mrs. Allen devoted her life to instilling that same character in them.
Meghann Plattner of Austria, Europe, recounts the sterling character of Kristin: “Each time throughout the day that I would pass her in the training center, she would greet me with a big smile and an enthusiastic, ‘Hi, Meghann!’
“When she fell sick, I would go visit her and find her in bed always doing something. She was either reading her Bible; writing letters; finishing sewing projects for the sewing room, the orphans, other roommates; or spending time in prayer for those who were ministering to others.”
Kristin’s love for the Russian people and her desire for them to know her Savior could not have been communicated more powerfully than through her death at this time. Russian officials have recently studied and reaffirmed the effectiveness of the work being done by ATI students and families with Russian orphans, and they have increased the number of orphans entrusted to our care. This has come during a time when some ministries are being pressured to leave Russia.
Ironically, the success of the work in Russia has caused the doors of many other nations to open, resulting in an urgent need for more ATI students in Russia as well as in other nations. Kristin was praying for this need to be met, and just as the death of those who went to reach the Auca Indians prompted thousands to volunteer for full-time service, there are indications that Kristin’s death may also prompt others to commit to a time of ministry.
Even after the shock of these events, Mr. and Mrs. Allen remain committed to their work in Moscow. They plan to return home for a funeral service and Kathryn’s recovery, then go back to Russia to work with the orphans. When asked by their local newspaper about his feelings, Mr. Allen, who left the security of a job to go to Russia, stated, “I have no regrets.”