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After finding an tiny baby girl abandoned on his door step in the cold of winter, South Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak designed and built a safe box where mothers, often young teens, can leave their baby safely instead of leaving them in the streets to die. Once the baby is put in the box a bell rings and Pastor Lee races to the box to care for the baby. Sometimes the mothers leave letters,
“I have made a simple mistake that I cannot bear or handle. I’m very sorry. I am sincerely sorry.”
Sometimes the babies are so new to the world they haven’t even been wiped clean from the birth. It broke his heart.
Something had to be done.
He not only offers refuge to these babies, like a father, he gives them all of his love and attention as well. He gives them his life. The moment he reaches in the box and hold’s the abandoned baby in his arms he prays for them that their lives would be filled with love and grace, and over each child he makes a promise to God.
“God, I will die for these babies.”
A sweet down syndrome girl, a boy born without a right hand, a boy born without fingers and toes, and a little girl named Hanna who died after living six years and touching many hearts, these are just a few of the hundreds of children he has rescued and cared for.
“For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” Psalm 27:10 The words were written in love above the handle of the baby dropbox by Pastor Lee.
“We instilled the box with God’s Heart.” he says.
If you didn’t know, you can watch an entire documentary of this story on Netflix. It is so touching I guarantee you’ll be in tears by the end if it.
So how did one man’s compassion for these forgotten babies become a feature film?
After reading an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “South Korean Pastor Tends an Unwanted Flock.” an undergraduate film student at the University of Southern California, Brian Ivie put down his bowl of cereal and thought
“If I don’t do anything about this, if I don’t tell this story, everyone’s going to forget.”
That’s how The Dropbox began, a story of hope, highlighting the dignity of every human life, no matter how unwanted, and the beauty of every human body, no matter how broken.
“It was never supposed to be a feature film. It was actually planned out, from the very beginning, to be a five- to 10-minute short film that we were going to make. The bent of the movie is that it was going to pit this kind of Korean society of perfectionism—because there’s a lot of plastic surgery in Korea and it’s a very perfectionistic culture —against this man’s counterculture of taking in children with deformities and disabilities. He was rebelling against what seemed to me, at the time, to be Korean society at large.
Moved by the Pastor’s love and in the midst of filming the plight of these abandoned and forgotten children, Brian realized his own spiritual brokenness and come to accept God’s love for him.
“This was the first time I felt like I had experienced true love. Love that wasn’t about being weak at the knees, but something that was gritty and something that was sacrificial.”
After traveling half way around the world to make the film, he teamed up with Focus on the Family with hopes to raise a million dollars through the film, to support both Lee’s efforts in South Korea and their own domestic adoption efforts in the United States.
He also wrote a book with Ted Kluck called The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever.
Since then the film was made, Pastor Lee was able to move his family from the church into a larger, more suitable home where the growing children could have access to the private space they desperately needed. They have also built a maternity shelter, offering counseling, care packages, and adoption support as well as an environment where families will be able to stay together whenever safe and possible so that life would be further protected.
Sometimes it’s easy to watch a film like this and think that the people touching so many lives are somehow better equipped to do such an amazing thing and that someone like you wouldn’t know where to start. The truth is, when you allow God’s love to fill your heart it begins to overflow and opens your eyes to the needs of others. You can’t help reaching out in any way you can. That’s all you can do.
I’d like to challenge myself and you to reach out to someone in need this week and make a difference no matter how big or small. You may be surprised how much your love can mean to someone.
I'm Shyannah, a graphic designer, mom and free spirit. I love reading books with my kids, drinking coffee, pretty fonts and interesting stories. If I could do anything I'd travel. Forever. I just want to laugh, give and live a life inspired.