Follow the letters and thoughts flowing from the heart of Marcelo as a response to a Divine and Sovereign Presence who comforts, encourages and continually motivates his smile, even amidst the troubles he is facing.
Pray for Marcelo and his wife Ruth; in this blog you will also discover how you can help.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When God turns tragedy into triumph

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My last post may have caused in your hearts a certain gloom over this terrible disease.  As for me, I was perplexed as to what the specialists in bone marrow transplants had to say about the destructive capacity of a level 4 AML (acute myeloid leukemia). The social services staff of the the hospital even suggested that we rent one of the apartments near the hospital, because even if I was discharged I'd have to live very close to the hospital because of the possible occurrence of major risks during any phase of the transplant. This combined with other information produced a feeling of bewilderment, as I told you in another post, and led me to yearn to depart and be with the Lord. 

While returning from the Transplant Center for Lutheran Hospital, I was still and quiet, just prayed in my heart this way: "Dear Lord, I accept fully Your purpose for my life, just teach me to glorify the Lord in the midst of pain and suffering.  I confess to Thee, O God, the intimate desire of my heart is to live a little longer to serve You in all faithfulness and admire the radiance of your glory emanating from this earthen vessel to the glory of the Lord Jesus." 

Returning to Lutheran Hospital, I continued pouring my heart before the Father, moaning in fact in my heart, longing to be clothed with my heavenly glory. This lasted several hours in deep communion in prayer. At one point I noticed something happening in my heart. I share this with you carefully, as I do not want to think that I feel like someone who deserves special attention of God.  I am an unworthy sinner, that by the grace of God I have enjoyed this wonderful privilege to be chosen by the same grace to know you better in the midst of pain. My heart was touched by a soft voice that asked: "Why do not you ask for a miracle?" This was pounding in my heart for a while so I called my dear Ruth and told her what I was feeling. 

Beloved, let me tell you something: Since I was sick I never asked directly to God in prayer for a miraculous intervention, even when I was still in Brazil at that early treatment (remember?) when I prayed to meet the His purpose in me and glorify His name Magnificent through my life or my death. But now, I felt a very strong impulse in my heart pushing me to cry out directly for a miraculous manifestation of His power in this situation. And for the first time, my friends I believe I'm telling the truth, I asked God for a miracle! Then I called Ruth and we prayed together in tears in response to that feeling that was beating in my heart, for a miracle of God that night (this was on November 17th on Tuesday afternoon). 

Shortly thereafter, a missionary there in the Amazon called me on Skype to see how the consultation went and one thing it was repeated twice: "Marcelo we are asking God to work a miracle in your life".  My heart jumped, while hot tears rolled down my face and made me intensify my prayers before the Father of Mercies. 

On Thursday the 19th, they did a myelogram at the request of the transplant team to see if the last chemotherapy had reduced the leukemia.  The results of the tests came out that same night. Dr. Caskey had brought the result to open the door to my room and had a broad smile, and the first thing she said was: "I have good news! The Myelogram found no cell leukemia in his bones!" Ruth and I collapsed in tears of joy and gratitude to the Lord. But the waited for us to recover it to say that this is only a preliminary result, we would have to await the final outcome from more accurate tests on the material harvested from bone marrow to confirm or not this information. This analysis is done outside of Colorado and takes two days to arrive. 

I took the opportunity to give a testimony of our faith in God Almighty and shared about our relationship with Him, a living God who is absolutely sovereign, but also intervenes in the lives of those who trust in Him. I told her that the night before I had prayed that the test results reveal the power of God over that disease. The doctor  listened carefully said: "I hope God continues to answer your prayers, keep praying, pray for me ...." My sister-in-law Reuma who was translating added that God can use her life and the other doctors to perform His will and show His power. 

Today afternoon (Saturday) Dr. Caskey came to see me again, bringing results from the more accurate tests made another state (do not know why but they rushed the result), and she confirmed that the examination It shows that my bone marrow is clean from leukemia. That is, they found no trace of atypical cells or leukemia. The spine totally clean! A miracle!

My heart was pounding.  My soul seemed to walk in the clouds.  I wanted to scream with joy in praise to the great and powerful King.   I held back for a few moments to hear the thoughts of the doctor.  She also keep saying that I'm almost out of blood cells that enable an accurate test, and that we must be calm, wait and continue with the plans because the disease can be hidden and manifest itself in another relapse. This does not overshadow my joy and I thought prudent to wait and continue with the tests and evaluations. 

I'll go through a period of recovery from bone marrow that will take 6 weeks, because right now the leukocytes remain at zero and the other rates remain low, and need some assistance with transfusions. In the meantime, I'll probably be discharged, but I have to come to the hospital every day for tests and monitoring. 

Dear brothers, there is so much joy and gratitude to the Lord pouring out of my heart. I know you and many others also share this joy with me. We have a Wonderful God that can turn tragedy into triumph! I feel like never before the mighty hand of God guiding our lives. I wish so much I could be there with you to be able to share all that I feel when I see myself totally surrounded by this ineffable and sweet grace of our dear Lord Jesus. There is someone so unworthy as I am, and there is someone whose mercy the Lord has revealed so as abundant. 

My answer to all this goodness of God to me is a gift of life for the beauty of Christ to be seen in me every day of our lives! 

Full comfort and joy that comes from the Lord, 

Marcelo and Ruth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10th of November - Happy Birthday Marcelo !!

May God’s love continue to flow in the life of His son, the missionary Marcelo Silva, may the Lord bring complete cure and that, for many, many years to come, may the Lord continue to demonstrate His sovereignty and power through the life of His servant.

Marcelo, thank you for the gift you give us everyday ... a demonstration of faith that encourages and lifts us.

your "assistant,"

Andre Oliveira

Friday, November 6, 2009

*** Breaking news ***

We just received word that a bone marrow donor has been found for Marcelo.  No details are available right now, but please begin to pray that all the necessary steps will fall into place for this to go forward.

The Lord Remains In Control

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"yet I will rejoice in the LORD, 
       I will be joyful in God my Savior
" - Hab. 3:18 

This is the great truth that motivates and sustains this servant of the Lord in all circumstances, even when very close to the end of life. I can say with absolute conviction that my joy, my peace and my safety rest on an unwavering Rock - the God of my salvation. What more security could there be than this? Oh, what a comfort that sweet peace! 

We received the test results of my bone marrow which showed that the leukemia is still resistant to the chemotherapy that has been applied so far. This result somewhat frustrated the expectations of my doctors, in that they had hoped for a remission of atypical cells in order to proceed with the bone marrow transplant. Given this result, Dr. Caskey said she will work with the team and also consult the department of transplantation in order to find another plan to halt the disease. Probably this week I will begin a new phase of chemotherapy with some new combinations of drugs yet to be defined.  In fact I have little information about these next steps. There is only one certainty in my heart: "yet I will rejoice in the Lord!" 

Dear friends, please know that we have moved to a new room in the hospital. Now we are in room 636, and the new phone number is 303-403-6436. 

Thank you for your prayers. It is always good to remember that the Lord's will  always accomplishes it's purpose.  We rest our hearts on the sovereignty of our great God, moved by this tremendous biblical conviction: 

"For from him and through him and to him are all things. 
      To him be the glory forever! Amen.
"Romans. 11:36 

In joy and comfort that comes from the Lord, 

Marcelo and Ruth.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

When our weakness becomes our greatest strength!

Dear Brothers,

I have not updated our blog in a few days now. High doses of chemotherapy and especially the side effects that accompany this type of treatment are making me physically weak like I have never before experienced. Right now I'm going through what is known as aplasia, when all the blood counts fall.  The immune system resets and opportunistic infections have a party.

Doctors are aware of this situation and I'm getting 4 types of antibiotics by IV, and other oral medications, which have largely been my daily food. For two days I have not had a fever, and the infection in my throat and esophagus have shown signs of improvement.  These are certainly good reasons for gratitude to the Lord.  In His infinite grace He has provided moments of relief.  The physical weakness continues, and I have trouble concentrating my thoughts in moments of prayer, and I find it difficult to read and write. I talked about this with the doctors, and they said that because of my anemia my brain receives less oxygen and this affects my movement and concentration. At this time it is good to remember that we have someone who always helps us in our weaknesses, especially in times of prayer when He intercedes for us when we sigh deeply.

Dr. Caskey scheduled a new marrow biopsy for November 7.  This new biopsy will determine if there is a remission of leukemia, or if treatment with this new drug to contain the disease is producing the expected results . Our hope and prayer is that the leukemia in a state of remission so that it is possible to go to the next phase of treatment, which in this case would be a bone marrow transplant.

It is not currently possible to predict when I will be discharged from the hospital due to very low immunity and also the fact that I often need transfusions of platelets and red blood cells. I will continue here in the total dependency on the grace of God and enjoying the warmth and care of my dear companion, my wife Ruth.

Dear ones: faithful Christians in the past said that there is much in Scripture that leads us to believe that the maturity of a child of God will never be complete without suffering. I believe they were right in what they said and I believe that the quality of our faith is measured not by a great deliverance of that experience, but the joy and confidence that we keep in the Sovereign God in the midst of suffering we experience. I think it is this kind of faith reflected in us that makes people receptive to the heart of God. If it were not so, how could we understand the meaning of that verse from the apostle Paul, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. "  2 Corinthians 12:10

The infinite grace of God is enough for me and it is only through it that I can say this prayer: "Oh dear Lord, thank you for physical weaknesses, the moments of inability to meditate on Your Word and even converse with you in prayer. I rest in your arms Lord, for I know that you love me so much that you do not spare me pain until the beauty of Christ is seen in me! "

Thank you for your prayers and kindness to us.

Marcelo and Ruth

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Medical Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A brief update on my health: I have now finished the fourth dose of chemotherapy for a total of five that will be delivered over five consecutive days.

As you know the medical staff is administering a compound called Clofarabine, a drug newly discovered in the U.S., whose properties in fighting Leukemia apply exactly to the kind that has affected me recently.

Right now we do not know my body's response to the new treatment, but this will be evaluated in subsequent tests. Our hope and prayer is to hear a word that has become special and dear to us, both in the context in which I am now living, but also the context of my relationship with the person of Christ. REMISSION.

The doctor's efforts are geared towards bringing the disease to a state of remission, allowing us to proceed with a bone marrow transplant. Actually I still do not know how this whole process will work, and would still like to do the transplant in Brazil. However, my life is totally in the hands of God.

With this new drug, the two strongest side-effects observed during the treatment are a sharp drop in blood pressure and tachycardia. I am being well monitored by hospital staff, and these effects have not been too severe.

Dear brothers, thank you for so many who have volunteered to take the blood test to see if you are a possible bone marrow donor. I know that in His sovereignty the Lord has already chosen someone special to share with me their bone marrow. In His time He will reveal.

A big hug to all of you, who I carry in my heart with great love,

In the comfort of the Lord,

Marcelo Pedro.