The Eternal Impact of an 8th Grader’s Kindness
By Kathy Norquist, Randy's executive assistant
Terry Harris gave me permission to share her story about Randy and I’m doing so, without his knowledge or permission . :) I share it not just to give recognition to Randy, but as a reminder to us all that showing kindness to others can make a significant eternal difference in more than one person’s life.
Terry had emailed Randy back in 2007 after a friend gave her one of his books with his picture on the back. Here’s a peek into the email correspondence between them:
From: Terry Harris
I was talking with my 15-year-old granddaughter about how some people we meet will touch us for years to come, some good and some not so good. I told her about a school mate of mine who still comes to my mind and will touch my heart whenever I think of him. He was a boy I went to school with in the 8th grade. He was so kind and nice to all. He did not care if you were not the most well-liked kid in school, he still was so kind. I told her how good he made me feel about myself, and gave me that little bit of self-worth. It was a short year but a good year. I told her he was funny also. I am not sure, but I think he would wear a red shirt and orange socks, then he would wear his orange shirt with his red socks.
A friend of mine gave me this book called Dominion the other day. I picked it up and started to read it, when I saw your name and then your photo on the back, then where you lived. I had to write and see if you are the Randy in Mr. Torgrimson’s 8th grade class, 1967-1968. If you are, I would like you to know that your kindness to me has touched my life for many years. If you are the one that made that young girl in 8th grade feel good about herself, I would love to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
May God Bless you and yours. Terry Clemons Harris
From: Randy Alcorn
What an absolute joy to hear from you. You were a special girl back then and I am so touched and thankful to God to hear from you after all these years!
I'd love to hear about your family. Nanci and I have two daughters and four grandsons now. Nanci remembers you, and so does another friend who stopped by yesterday.
I want to send you any of my books you don't have and might want. I'd love to send you one of each and everything you want.
Anyway, I look forward to catching up. I am SO happy to hear from you, Terry. You made my day.
Investing in eternity,
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
From: Terry Harris
GOD IS SO GOOD!
Randy, I have to tell you that when I saw it was from you, I took a deep breath, and said "Ok God, your will be done." I cried when I saw it was you!! I had to call my husband (Tom) and tell him it was you. He was so happy that I have found someone GOOD from my childhood.
I did not have God in my life for many years. I first got to know Him in 1991 when He helped me win over the demon of alcoholism.
As life went on, my love for Him became stronger and stronger. I thank God every day for His love. Randy, when you ended your letter with 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, I want you to know that I believe that with all my heart.
I will have to read the book you wrote on Heaven. I have thought a lot about Heaven, but I can't even imagine what it will be like.
Randy, I thanked God for you many times in my life. You will never know just what your kindness to that little girl in the 8th grade gave her. Your kind words rang out in my mind and heart, many, many times. I have shared your kindness many times, in youth groups and women’s retreats. Just that one kind act or word could be the only lifesaver that an unloved, unwanted person will ever get.
May our kind loving God bless you and yours, Randy. Please tell Nanci hi for me.
And now an addition to the story:
Not long ago I received a phone call from Terry telling me the story of how God used Randy’s kindness back in 8th grade to eventually save a baby’s life. Here’s what she told me:
I was an unwed mother at 15, and although I was pressured to have an abortion, for some reason I knew it was wrong. I lived on the streets for several weeks before giving birth to my son. I had a very rough background, but I’ve had several opportunities to speak to many young people. One girl who had heard me speak became pregnant six months later. She came to me in tears and said, “Because of the story you shared about the person who was nice to you in 8th grade, I’ve decided to keep this baby and be kind to others, too.”
Executive Assistant to Randy Alcorn
Kathy Norquist works in Ministry Development for Eternal Perspective Ministries, and is also on the EPM's Board of Directors. She was Randy’s executive assistant from 1997-2015, and was also previously one of his secretaries when he was a pastor.