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.

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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What a privilege!

My dear children, relatives and friends,

This morning while nurses went through the normal procedures for giving medications and checking blood pressure and temperature, I sat next to Marcelo, his feet on the edge of the bed and I caressing him.  I soon realized that he had fallen asleep. After they left I got up to fix something and he opened his eyes and told me: "My Dear, it was so good to sense you by my side, can you please come back? I need you to be next to me."

My beloved friends, I give Glory to God for this privilege of being an aid and comfort to my dear husband. I know hundreds of you would also love to be here next to him to encourage him and lift his spirits, but God has chosen me and I want to fulfill this mission with all loyalty and love.

I want to thank all of you from the depths of my heart for the support that each of you has given us.  Please know that despite not being here that your prayers have been felt.

The results of lab tests today (22 October) have arrived, and all measurements are down: White Blood Cell Count 300, hemoglobin 8,700, hematocrit 24,800 and platelets 10,000. He has received platelets today.

Well my dear ones, thank you for your kindness caring, and  from many that we do not know directly but are brothers and sisters in Christ.

A strong and warm embrace, 

In Christ,


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Words that bring comfort to my heart

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows" - 2 Corinthians 1:5

I have received many letters, most of them come to my heart like a gentle balm that fills my soul with joy and comfort from the Word of God. Many dear brothers who write me are true believers who are taught by God, and learned from the personal experiences of pain and suffering the real meaning of this overflowing consolation for us through Christ Jesus.

The letters help me to remember that the inexhaustible source of grace and consolation of God are gushing toward the life of this missionary, not because there is something special about him in any way!  But it is part of a higher purpose which seeks the glory of a Holy God, who wants to reveal to my heart the nature of his character a very special way.

I quote some excerpts of these letters, with the intention of also providing comfort to someone else who may be living in the outer limits of his own life:

"My dear brother Marcelo.

... Your life has seen much suffering and pain. I imagine your difficult times, your hours of anguish and sleepless nights. But I think your best "sermons" preached to date have been those in the midst of your suffering.  Your life bears the witness of Christ. 

As Calvin said at the climax of his illness: "Lord, you crush me, but I am comforted that it is Thy hand! I always like to say that the Puritans were not only the theologians of Sanctification, but Theologians of Suffering. They knew what suffering was under the providential and gracious hand of the Lord Jesus, in grace and faith.

Be strong, we are fighting with you in prayer. 

Your pain is our pain, Your hope is our hope. "- Presb. Manuel Canuto

"My dear brother, all I want in this email is to able to send you our solidarity and brotherly love, and share with you the awareness of grace that always leaves us with hope. Not hope without certainty, but the hope in Christ that is certainly based on faith in the power and mercy of Him who saves us. "- Pastor Claudio Michaella

"Brother, your story of faith in God is the testimony that makes me believe even more that the best place in the world is at the feet of Jesus. What would your life be if it were only full of self? Certainly it would not have the same impact that it has had, filled with the Spirit of God. Your cheerful confidence that God is in control of everything at the exact moment when hope seems lost is contagious and motivating. We are praying for you. "- Alex Corsino

"My precious and brave brother in Christ ... I am sending this email with the hopes of comforting you, and it is me that I is comforted by reading what flows from your heart. The late Pastor Richardson said, referring to Paul's words about "whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" (Romans 14:8), the important thing is not living and not dying, but belonging to the Lord.

... O Blessed Grace of Jesus that reached us and bought us the place in heaven where we shall always be with the Lord for all time!" Pastor Prince Junior.

There are many other posts like these that inspire me to look at the sovereignty of God and make me remember the words of a Christian in the past called AW Tozer: "it is impossible for God to use someone without first breaking him!"

In fact, as a missionary I always remember that God can best use a nobody!

With warm regards,

Marcelo Pedro.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God is Still in Control

Dear friends,

Yesterday, the oncologist came to talk with us. He had in hand the results of my most recent bone marrow biopsy, and a proposal that would soon be presented to us.

The results of the biopsy found that the round of high dose chemotherapy I received last week has not worked as they expected, which was to stop the progression of the disease.

The doctor is considering a radical change in treatment, since the conventional treatment is not yielding the expected results.  He informed us of a new chemotherapy drug called clofarabine (CLOLAR), which was approved in the U.S. last year and is specific to the type of leukemia I have. The first case treated with this drug was in November, 2008. I asked if I had time to recover from these terrible side-effects before starting a new round of chemotherapy. He said that unfortunately the leukemia will not wait for me to feel better, and that every minute counts right now. There is no room to wait. He looked at me said: The decision is yours, but I need a decision now!

I looked at my dear Ruth, we quickly remembered the way the Sovereign Lord is leading our steps. We made the decision to stay exactly where we are, quiet and serene under the Wings of Grace of our Blessed Redeemer. 

I began to receive the new drug yesterday morning with a smile, thinking that it would not be surprising to find that after all, God brought me here to try this new drug, which may still not have arrived in Brazil. And praying expressions of gratitude and praise, I poured my heart out to the Father, reminding myself that more important than living is living for the Glory of the Author of my life! 

Dear friends, the doctor made it clear that should not have an expectation of healing with this new drug. The fight is to force the leukemia into remission until a bone marrow transplant is available. This is, humanly speaking, my only chance of a cure.  Please take your blood test to see if you are a compatible donor.  You may be the one whom God has chosen to share your life with me!

Beloved, my heart has found all the rest it needs in the beautiful sovereignty of God. How wonderful to imagine that a sinner like me can be the target of so much love! What a great treat for my soul to imagine myself totally surrounded by this sphere of infinite grace and everlasting love! I have immeasurable joy in my heart just to be able to say these two words: MY FATHER! 

Christ my dear Savior, by His perfect and complete sacrifice gave me a new life by faith, and now I am God's son and heir with Jesus of all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. Who can imagine my joy! God is good, and I love Him!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Marcelo and Rute are missionaries from the New Tribes Mission in Brazil. They started their missionary work in 1989, where they served the Lord for a few years in a place called Puraquequara. Driven by the desire to proclaim the Gospel of God’s Grace to the unreached indigenous peoples, they accepted the challenge of living in the Upper Rio Içana, a region known as "Dog's Head", on the border of Colombia. The Koripako people, who inhabit that area, welcomed the missionary and his family in their villages and were able to listen in their own language about the greatness of the Eternal God.

Marcelo and Rute have been involved in this ministry for 20 years. In 2008, they left the jungle to visit family and churches that support them. While preaching in the town of Ilhéus, in Southern Bahia-Brazil, Marcelo fell ill and returned to Recife where he was diagnosed with a type of cancer called AML (acute myeloid leukemia). After several months of intensive treatment, and several complications, the cancer went into remission. Marcelo gained weight, and the missionaries returned to an almost normal rhythm of activities.

It was then that Marcelo and Rute were invited to visit a small church in the U.S., so they could share the challenge of missions to their hearts. This church had followed closely throughout the treatment phase and recovery that had been done in the past 11 months. Understanding the will of God and seeing the hand of the Lord leading them, they reached the city of Denver, Colorado where they presented the missionary work and shared their passion for the Lord and lost souls.

That week, however, they were surprised when Marcelo suddenly fell ill. Our missionary discovered that the cancer had returned, more aggressive and intense. Admitted to the Lutheran Hospital in Denver, Marcelo began his fight for life.

Today, Marcelo urgently needs a bone marrow transplant! The entire treatment of chemotherapy is only a temporary way to stop the spread of the disease in his blood, and it will not solve the problem. Now is the time for God's people to unite their hearts in prayer; in a sincere cry beseeching the Lord of the harvest for His mercy and grace for our mission of "Dog's Head."

In this blog you will also discover how to help them. Follow the letters and thoughts flowing from the heart of Marcelo as a response to a Divine Presence and Sovereign who comforts him and continually motivates him to smile, even amidst the troubles he faces.

Pray for Marcelo Pedro and his wife Rute!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

17th of October

Dear Friends,

The time is short and the race in search of a compatible bone marrow donor for Marcelo intensifies. Therefore, we decided to put the step-by-step information necessary for anyone who wants to be a bone marrow donor:

1. Anyone between 18 and 55 years in good health can donate bone marrow. This is taken from inside the hip bone by and replenishes itself in just 15 days.

2. Donors fill out a form with personal data and a small blood sample is collected for testing. These tests determine the genetic characteristics that are necessary for compatibility between the donor and patient.

3. The personal data and test results are stored in a computer that performs the matching with data from the patient who is in need of a transplant.

4. If compatible with the patient, the donor is then called for additional tests and to make the donation.

5. It would be very simple and easy, if it were not for the problem of compatibility between the donor cells and recipient. The chance of finding a compatible bone marrow donor is, on average, one in a hundred thousand!

6. For the donor, the donation will be just a small inconvenience. For the patient, will be the difference between life and death.

I will now make an appeal to so many brothers and sisters, many of whom I still do not know, but who have their hearts drawn by the tender bonds of love and mercy. Please sign up through the Bone Marrow center in your state. It's simple and free.

How is the donation made?

A small amount of blood (5ml) will be drawn, and you will fill out a form with personal information.

Your blood will be typed for histocompatibility (HLA), which is a laboratory test to identify genetic characteristics that may influence the transplant. Your HLA type is included in the register.

Your data will be linked with the patient who needs the bone marrow transplant. If you are compatible with a patient, other blood tests will be needed.

If compatibility is confirmed, you will be asked to confirm that you want to make the donation. Your current health condition will be evaluated.

The donation is a procedure that is done in the operating room under epidural or general anesthesia and requires hospitalization for a minimum of 24 hours. In the first three days after the donation there can be located discomfort, mild to moderate, which can be alleviated with the use of painkillers and simple measures. Typically, donors return to their usual activities after the first week.

For more information, please visit:

14th of October - Translation

Dear friends,

We are experiencing that peace that passeth all understanding.

Yesterday, October 14th, was a pretty hard day. We spent almost the whole day in the clinic, arriving at 8:30am and not leaving until 3pm. Marcelo was given 2 bags of blood for anemia. From the clinic we went straight to the doctor's office. As soon as we got home, he took medicine to numb his throat and ate chicken broth, and managed to sleep from 5pm until 9pm. He ate a bit more, but was not able to sleep again during the night.

Today, October 15th, when he was trying to eat breakfast, Marcelo almost fainted with strong pain in his stomach, so we went to the clinic for tests. Mazinha brought us as she has done every day. Mazinha has been a blessing for us, as well as Ricardo and Andre.

Test results today showed that the leukocytes started to increase. They reached 200, which is still very low, but at least gave a sign of life. But the platelets fell, we we had to have a transfusion. Because Marcelo had a fever, the doctors thought it best to admit him back into the Lutheran Hospital here near Denver and treat the fever and throat infection.

We had a special visitor yesterday, sent by God - Michael Coleman, whom we know at the symposium in Maragogi (2008). He is the son of American missionaries, was born in Brazil and his father was a Presbyterian missionary in Brazil. He was flying to North Carolina and when he heard that Marcelo was hospitalized here, changed his ticket and stayed for one night to visit us. Actually his visit has brought us much joy and comfort. He left this morning, but still came by the hospital and helped with translation right at the time the doctor was "trying" to talk to us. I was praying to God to send someone. God is wonderful!

Well is all the news we have to convey today. We are sad because we returned to the hospital, but we are as peace because now is the time to be here.

Thank you from the depths of my heart for the support you have given to us in so many ways.

Ruth C. Silva