Challenges, Blessings and Miracles «Today»

«Meine ganz persönliche Geschichte. Meine Krankheit und deren Herausforderungen und die Zeugnisse und Wunder, die ich erleben durfte.» Mit diesen Worten lud Philipp Fuhrer, Bischof der Gemeinde Frauenfeld, alle ein und teilte seine Erfahrungen, die er als Folge seiner Hirntumor-Erkrankung machte, im Rahmen eines Vortrags mit seiner Familie und seinen Freunden. Eine gute Vorbereitung, die Verheissung in einem Krankensegen und Engel haben ihn unter anderem durch diese schwere Zeit getragen. Die Zuhörer durften einen geistigen und emotionalen Abend erleben, in welchem Bischof Fuhrer wiederholt Zeugnis ablegte. Seine ausführlichen und offenen Gedanken und Gefühle wurden mit Fotos und musikalisch umrahmt von seinem Freund Jonas Derksen am Klavier und den beiden Violinistinnen Katja Quast und Sina Richter.

Philipp does not describe himself as a good speaker. And yet he felt a great need to take his family and friends on a journey through the most difficult phase of his life. He wanted to express his gratitude for the support he was able to experience during this challenging time. At the same time, it was important to him to show how he was blessed and guided by the Lord and to bear witness to these experiences and miracles. In this way, he wants to give people in comparable life situations and great challenges courage and confidence.

All his life Philipp had been an enthusiastic football player until a few years ago a physical disability forced him to change his sport. He found a new challenge in road cycling. He quickly developed the ambition to keep up with good cyclists, trained diligently and enjoyed long rides alone and with friends. He learned to use his strength correctly and to feel what was good for him. Bishop Fuhrer testified how through this sport he learned the importance of thorough preparation and how to endure challenging situations. Nothing we do should be easy for us.

The first signs of his illness, which had not yet been linked to a brain tumor, did not prevent him from continuing to pursue his hobby. He tried to get his health problems under control with natural therapies or alternative medicine. When he was preparing for a longer tour and noticed that, despite intensive training, he was always feeling weaker, that he contracted a severe flu and his lips and tongue went numb, Philipp decided to get an investigation. After a few weeks it became clear that he had a brain tumor that had to be surgically removed. It was once good for him to know what causes his health problems. 

Immediately after this diagnosis, he got on his bicycle to spend time with his heavenly Father in prayer and asking questions. He offered a prayer of gratitude for all his loved ones, for the gospel, his faith, the mission, his work, the callings and for feeling prepared to take on this challenge. He poured out his heart to the Lord, told him about his plans and goals, his joys, hopes and fears and received the clear assurance from an inner voice: "Don't worry, everything will be fine". Believing in this promise gave him great inner calm, peace and security. At this point in the talk, Philip gave a powerful testimony of the power of prayer and that counting gratitude for blessings is a spiritual medicine. Back from his bike ride that evening, he told his wife Aline about his experiences. Together they experienced the emotions associated with this diagnosis. He then calmly informed his entire family and was more concerned about how his loved ones would deal with this news than about his own well-being. He took everything cool like he said. In all that time of illness and rehabilitation, he never asked how or why, nor did he reproach the Lord or feel bitter. than his own state of mind. He took everything cool like he said. In all that time of illness and rehabilitation, he never asked how or why, nor did he reproach the Lord or feel bitter. than his own state of mind. He took everything cool like he said. In all that time of illness and rehabilitation, he never asked how or why, nor did he reproach the Lord or feel bitter.

The Fuhrer couple did not want to miss out on the long-planned vacation, but after that they had to decide when the upcoming operation should be carried out. He's usually quick to make decisions, but deciding when to do the surgery was so difficult for him. It was clear to him that he still wanted to be there when his son returned from a mission and when his daughter got married. He determined to receive direction from the Lord in this matter. Spiritually prepared, he went to the house of the Lord and received clear instructions to have the operation performed immediately. He was grateful for this strong and clear feeling and knows that the temple can be a place of revelation for each of us if we go there well prepared and with an open heart.

In preparation for the procedure, he tried to keep his body strong and fit. He arranged his professional and financial affairs and also informed his wife Aline about all the important things that would make her life easier on her own. His wife once remarked: "Hey, you're not so cool anymore?"

As Philip was readied for the operation, he prayed for his family's protection and the Lord promised to watch over him. During the procedure, he had a dream. An older woman appeared to him and held his head and promised him: "I will watch over you all the time". This was the first angel that appeared to him during his illness. Later it turned out that this was his grandmother.

He didn't like the intensive care unit at all! The space was open, many people were working and a lot of information was flowing. In another dream, a man suddenly stood on his right side and asked how he was doing. "I'm overwhelmed," was his reply. He promised to explain everything to him. This is how Philipp Fuhrer found peace and security again. He testified that angels exist. 

In rehabilitation, it was soon realized that a second operation would be necessary. For some inexplicable reason, the hole near the skull wasn't 100% tight, brain fluid was constantly flowing out of the nose. An inflammation of the brain was already evident. A world collapsed for him. In this demanding situation, Philipp and Aline Fuhrer felt supported by love, letters and flowers from their family and friends. And yet Philipp asked himself whether he would have the strength for another operation. He remembered the blessing his stake president had given him. In it he was promised that his health would be restored, but that he must also have a lot of patience. A small detail of the blessing to which he had hitherto given no importance, he became aware again. The stake president had corrected himself: "The operation will be unsuccessful...successful." Was this a reference to the two operations? He just felt bad.

After the operation, he woke up in severe pain. He couldn't sleep, he felt physically and mentally exhausted and wanted to give up. Yes, he just wanted to die. He prayed fervently to Heavenly Father and told Him that he had no more strength. He wanted him to have access to the faith, love of his family and friends, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then the song "Consider the Lilies" sung by the Tabernacle Choir came to mind. To this day, Bishop Fuhrer cannot put into words what happened next. But he testified that Christ knows him, loves him, and is his personal Savior. The pain subsided and his will to live awoke again. He was allowed to feel how his health was renewed, as he was promised to be blessed with. 

Now he still needed a lot of patience, as he was told in the blessing. Since then, step by step progress has been made. He concentrated on what he could do and gradually learned more. Accompanied and supported by his third angel, his wife Aline, he mastered ups and downs. Over and over again he imagined the moments at the airport and at the wedding to motivate himself to keep working on himself and making progress, even if it was sometimes painful and tedious. No, the journey was not easy, but with God's help and the support of his family and friends, he was able to bear his burden. He's thankful that his challenge has a happy ending, because that's not the case for everyone. But there is always hope.

His deep gratitude could be felt for being able to witness his son's return from a mission and his youngest daughter's wedding. He also looks back gratefully on the time of his suffering because he was able to learn so much. He recognizes how well Heavenly Father prepared and guided him. According to his own statement, he is doing fantastic today. Although his right eye and hearing are limited, he says with a smile: "Everything will be okay again after the resurrection." 

He told all his guests that you should accept and get help and never forget that the sun always shines. «We are angels for one another here on earth!»

We will never forget these impressive hours with Philipp and are grateful that he told us his personal story in such an impressive way. 

By Daniel and Renata Müller, communications specialists for the St. Gallen Stake

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