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From: Stephen Wong

Subject: Fw: Fwd: Picture of the decade (Amazing Hand of Hope)

Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 11:08:08 +0800

---------- Picture of the Decade-------------------

This content is taken from: http://www.family.org/docstudy/newsletters/a0010560.html

Dear Friends,

Take a good look at the stunning photograph reproduced below. It was taken in the operating room during delicate surgery on the spine of a baby boy who was still in his mother's uterus. His name is Samuel Alexander Armas. I hope you will never forget his story.

Michael Clancy Photography of Samuel Alexander Aramas used with permission of SABA Press, New York, N.Y. This incredible photo was called to my attention by a friend, Beth Fisher, who had come across it recently while searching the Web. It was accompanied by an anonymous commentary, written by someone who must have been deeply affected by the picture. I took the liberty of editing his or her statement for clarity and adding some factual information found in other publications. I hope you will read the following words with your head and with your heart.

(First Picture is an original one; second picture is reproduced for easy identification)


"Samuel's Story"

"What you are witnessing should be designated 'Picture of the Year,' or, perhaps, 'The Picture of the Decade.' It won't be. Most people will never get an opportunity to see it. The photo depicts a 21-week-old pre-born baby, who was being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner (It is his finger in the photo). The baby had been diagnosed with spina bifida, which leaves the spinal cord exposed after it fails to develop properly. Unless the gap was closed to protect his nervous system, serious brain damage would likely have occurred before birth. There was no time to lose. Unfortunately, the baby was too immature to survive outside the womb, and corrective surgery had never been performed on a baby this young. However, the parents, Julie and Alex Armas, have a deep faith. She is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta, who had heard through the Internet of Dr. Bruner's work at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He and his team pioneered these delicate operations.

Despite the fact that the procedure has not yet been endorsed in medical journals, the decision was made to attempt it on behalf of little Samuel. To operate on such a tiny baby required special miniature instruments to be created. The sutures used, for example, were less than the thickness of a human hair. A Caesarean section was then performed to lift the uterus gently from Julie's body, permitting the surgeon to make a small incision through which the operation would be performed. Then, it happened!

As Dr. Bruner was probing the opening, the baby's fully-developed hand wrapped itself around the finger of the surgeon. The photograph captures that amazing moment with perfect clarity. This picture should be shown on every newscast and run in every newspaper in America. Every teenager should also see it. Why? Because it is an unmistakable reminder that growing in the womb of each mother is a baby. It is not a 'blob of tissue,' or a 'product of conception.' A pre-born baby is fully human from the moment of conception. What we see in the photograph expresses that understanding better than a thousand words.

Little Samuel's mother was quoted as saying she and her husband 'wept for days' when they saw the picture. She said, 'This photo reminds us [that] my pregnancy wasn't about disability or illness. It was about a little person.'That's what human pregnancy and birth are about - a tiny human being with an eternal soul being formed in the 'image of God.' And that's what the media elite fails to comprehend. That's also why they don't want people to see the incredible picture of this precious baby grasping the hand of his physician. I pray that it will not be hidden forever."

I have to admit that I wept when I saw this historic photograph and heard about the heroic effort to rescue Samuel. I'm sure many of you are wondering how this little guy is doing these days. Well, let's let his mother, Julie, bring us up to date on his condition. She wrote the following letter recently to her friends and well-wishers :

Samuel arrived on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 6:25 p.m. at Northside Hospital, weighing 5 lbs, 11 ounces and [measuring] 20 1/2 inches long. He was born at 36 weeks but came into the world screaming his head off! He did not have to spend any time in a neonatal unit and came home with us on Monday, Dec. 6 (1999). After viewing an ultrasound of his brain, Samuel's neurosurgeon was very optimistic, as he does not have any hydrocephalus [excess fluid on the brain] and the brain malformation has resolved. He is moving his legs very well from the hips and some from the knees. He was frank breech (folded in half) in the womb, and the orthopedist feels that he has a good chance for walking. He will begin physical therapy next week in order to work out some of the stiffness in his legs that was a result of his being folded in half in the womb. He is also nursing very well.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We are happier than we ever dreamed possible!

All our love,


Julie, Alex and Samuel Armas


1. Well, if you haven't been touched by this wonderful story, there's something wrong with your "feeler." The photograph alone, if witnessed by people around the world, would force millions to rethink the real meaning of abortion. Seeing that little hand illustrates for us the fact that abortionists are, indeed, killing babies - often by the most grotesque methods - with the full protection and sanction of our government.

Shame on us, and shame on our leaders! If his parents had wished, little Samuel could have been dismembered legally without anesthetics by the procedure known as "partial birth abortion." Indeed, his body parts - including the delicate hand - could have been sold to the highest bidder on the open market. If the United States Supreme Court rules against babies in the Stenberg v. Carhart case next summer, every legal effort to protect them will be struck down. Please be in prayer about that historic decision!

On other fronts, there is good news to report about the effort to protect pre-born children. We are winning the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people. According to a Gallup poll, fully 71 percent of Americans now want greater restrictions on abortion.

2. That represents considerable movement toward life since the pro-abortion forces began telling everyone that unborn babies were "meaningless protoplasm." Despite this terrible lie, more and more people are coming to understand that human life is precious at all ages - from conception to the grave. What will be the end result of the debate that rages today? It will not depend on Congress, the Supreme Court or a presidential decree.

History tells us that turning points of this nature depend primarily on the perseverance of those involved. Remember that George Washington led his armies into battle nine times against the British and was mauled in six of them. Why, then, did his forces win the Revolutionary War? It was because the British people became fatigued by the war, while the Americans became more resolute. When it comes down to it, powerful ideas cannot be suppressed forever by guns, bullets and court decisions. Their viability depends on the determination of the people who support them. Even though we have lost many major battles in the struggle to save pre-born children, and 39 million have died, I still believe we will be victorious someday.

3. Why? Because ours is a righteous cause. The only way we can lose is to disengage from the battle. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9 NIV). With prayer and perseverance, we (or perhaps our children) will live to see babies such as Samuel Alexander Armas protected and welcomed into a world of love and acceptance.

Lord God in heaven, hasten the arrival of that day! This seems like a fitting moment to express appreciation and love to the many directors and staff members working in crisis pregnancy centers. They have dedicated their lives to young women and the babies they carry. These people often accomplish their mission with very few resources or emotional support from their fellow believers. That is difficult to understand. More than 700 of these CPC directors convened for a conference last month at Focus on the Family, and I was deeply touched again by their sacrificial commitment to life. May I ask you to call one or two of these special people in your area and thank them for their work? They are saving babies every day!

As you celebrate the Easter season this month, remember that Jesus Christ is the Giver of Life who takes away the sins of the world. He not only loves you and me, but all the little "Samuels" who are still in their mother's wombs. Each of us is created in the "image of God" with an eternal soul and a value that exceeds the combined worth of the universe. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, perhaps this is the time to do so. To our fellow believers, let's rejoice in our knowledge that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Have a great spring.

With warmest regards,

James C. Dobson, Ph.D.



This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes, without prior permission from Focus on the Family.

Copyright © 2000 Focus on the Family.

All rights reserved. International copyright secured.


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