“Overcoming the Pain Made Us Better,” Liahona, August 2004, 39–40
We will never forget the Sunday when a new family of German origin moved into the Pusuqui Branch in Quito, Ecuador. The branch president introduced the Fuchs family during sacrament meeting, and we immediately felt they were special people.
After sacrament meeting I took my family to welcome them. Andreas, the oldest of their children, greeted us warmly and introduced himself as Andy. Something about that moment signaled the beginning of a friendship that was to be deep, true, and certainly eternal—a friendship that left us an unforgettable legacy.
Time passed, and the Fuchs family became very involved in our branch. I was Young Men president at the time, and I soon saw that Andy’s enthusiasm showed in all areas. When we began a service project, he was first to appear—with a big smile.
Andy was an extraordinary person, due to the goodness of our Heavenly Father and the guidance of his earthly parents. From an early age, Andy had been nourished by their affection and patience. He and his father, Horst, shared many activities and were indispensable to each other. This example so matured Andy that at age 14 he was a person of ability and usefulness. His many abilities never ceased to surprise us, but he was humble about them. He was totally dedicated to learning the gospel of Jesus Christ and lost no opportunity to talk to people about the Church.
No one supposed Andy would leave us so soon. We still remember that painful Saturday when we learned of his tragic death.
That morning Andy decided to ride his bike to the top of a hill in the area. He had already done so once with his father and was determined to repeat the feat alone. After getting his father’s permission, he set out. As he rode up the hill, a truck transporting wood down the hill careened wildly. It struck Andy and killed him instantly. It was difficult for us to accept that this tragedy had occurred to such a bright, promising young man.
The truck driver was seriously injured. He was taken to a hospital in Quito under police watch so he would not escape justice for what he had done. Surely, we thought, he should be held accountable for the accident. But from Horst Fuchs we all learned to forgive.
The branch president and I went with Brother Fuchs to identify Andy’s body. While the death of his son was very painful, he forgave the person who had taken Andy’s life. He refused to hold animosity in his heart. A few days later he visited the truck driver in the hospital and told him that he forgave him. He offered his help and spoke to him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. While the truck driver was recovering at home, he started receiving the discussions from the missionaries, who were accompanied by Brother Fuchs. Brother Fuchs also intervened in the justice system to have all charges against the man dropped.
I know this demonstration of love has its foundation in the gospel of Jesus Christ—the gospel by which the Fuchs family lives. The Fuchs family is indeed exceptional. Their example showed us that only through Christ does great strength come, as well as comfort and support.
Overcoming the pain made us better people. Although we understood that there would be tears along our path through life, our branch saw from Andy’s legacy and his father’s example that we must have faith and work diligently to live and share the gospel every day. And because of Jesus Christ, we have faith that we will meet Andy again.