The heart-wrenching yet inspiring story of Jong-rak Lee, a pastor who has made his life's mission to save abandoned babies left on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, is coming to theaters on March 3rd by way of a Focus on the Family documentary titled The Drop Box.
Since 2009, Pastor Lee has taken society's most vulnerable members--unwanted babies--into his home through a "Drop Box," where the infants could be dropped off rather than left on the streets to die. The Drop Box is equipped with lights and a heater and reads in Korean, "Please don't throw away unwanted or disabled babies, or babies of single mothers. Please bring them here instead."
As many as 18 babies a month have arrived in the Drop Box in one month, and the same number of children currently live in the pastor's home, which doubles as an orphanage. He and his wife have even adopted ten of their own-the maximum number local Korean authorities will allow. Many of the children have severe physical and mental disabilities.
"The prejudice against disabled people is severe," Pastor Lee said. "People neglect them. They find them repugnant. They don't treat them with respect; they don't treat them as human beings. If these children would have gone elsewhere, they would have died."
"I'm glad they've come here," he added. "I am so thankful I can help them...They aren't the unnecessary ones. God sent them here for a purpose."
The pastor believes so strongly in his mission, which is frowned upon by the South Korean government, that he has vowed to do whatever it takes to save the abandoned children--even die for them.
"I can't be here and not do anything about it, so we installed the baby box with God's heart...I made a vow to God: I will die for these babies."
The director of the film, Brian Ivie, was first moved by Pastor Lee's work after reading an article about him and his amazing work in the LA Times in 2011. After visiting Seoul, Ivie decided to create a film about the pastor, and became a Christian throughout the process. Several years later, he, along with several others, started Kindred Image, a company created to continue Pastor Lee's life-saving work. In 2013, Kindred Image teamed up with Focus on the Family to produce and distribute The Drop Box.
"These kids are not mistakes," Ivie said. "They are important. I became a Christian while making this movie. When I started to make it and I saw all these kids come through the drop box - it was like a flash from heaven, just like these kids with disabilities had crooked bodies, I have a crooked soul. And God loves me still. When it comes to this sanctity of life issue, we must realize that that faith in God is the only refuge for people who are deemed unnecessary. This world is so much about self-reliance, self-worth, and self-esteem. It's a total illusion that we can be self-sufficient. Christ is the only thing that enables us."
Christians who have previewed the film have called it "heart-wrenching" and "emotional," but also praised is as being an incredible story of hope.
"Are we, as Christians, ready to take in every unwanted baby, either through adoption or doing something similar like the pastor that was highlighted in this film? I pray that we are ready to take that stand and agree to raise all those children who are unable to be taken care of by their natural parents," read a review on Christian Film Database.
"How many unfulfilled dreams and callings have there really been in all the child that were aborted, or abandoned to death, or even abused where they died? It's important to take a stand and help where we can."