The drop box, it’s a metal box outfitted with gentle warming lights, soft blankets, and a sign that simply reads, “This is a facility for the protection of life. If you can’t take care of the disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.” It’s hard to imagine, but in South Korea, this drop box alone has seen over 650 babies deemed unwanted by their mothers and fathers in a country where a simple deformity makes a baby a curse instead of a miracle. This is the box of the unwanted, but because of one man, they are being saved.
Watch a portion of this segment in the video below, scroll down for the full story.
Glenn: The drop box, it’s a metal box outfitted with gentle warming lights, soft blankets, and a sign that simply reads, “This is a facility for the protection of life. If you can’t take care of the disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.”
It’s hard to imagine, but in South Korea, this drop box alone has seen over 650 babies deemed unwanted by their mothers and fathers in a country where a simple deformity makes a baby a curse instead of a miracle. This is the box of the unwanted, but because of one man, they are being saved.
Pastor Lee: I have never planned to be a savior or to do anything great. I just did follow God one step at a time. None of this was part of my plan.
Glenn: Lee Jong-Rak is a pastor from South Korea, but before he was a pastor, he was a raging alcoholic who abused his wife. He hit rock bottom, and in that moment he surrendered his life to God. As he found his faith, his prayers were simple. He asked God to bless him with a son. Well, his wife got pregnant, and after hours of a brutal struggle, his son was born.
He had a massive cyst on his left cheek, and without surgery, he was going to die. In South Korea, babies with deformities are usually abandoned or killed. The doctors told Pastor Lee that his son would be a vegetable. He was told his limbs would soon jut out at strange angles, leaving him permanently bedridden.
Pastor Lee: When Eun-man was born, I asked God at that moment, “Why?” Why did He give me “that kind of baby?” Why didn’t He give me a healthy baby? That thought immediately came to my mind. But it wasn’t even 30 seconds before I repented. “God, I am sorry. Thank you for giving him to me.”
So step-by-step, with faith, prayer and His words, I lived. That’s how I started this work.
Glenn: Eun-man still lay in bed, reminding Lee of why he began to care for the unwanted and the hopeless in the first place. He cut into the wall of his laundry room and fitted the box with motion sensors and an alarm, and if it wasn’t for his son, he wouldn’t be prepared for when the alarm sounds.
This story of one man’s compassion traveled across land and sea and touch the heart of another man.
Brian Ivie: I read about this man who’s now my spiritual father over breakfast cereal on June 20, 2011, and that article was called, it was on the bottom of the front page of the LA Times, and the article was called “South Korean pastor tends an unwanted flock.” It was all about how this man had created a mailbox for abandoned babies.
I grew up making movies. I wanted to make movies since I was nine. So, in my neighborhood, I used to make movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter or James Bond spinoffs and things like that. We’d put up a screen in the backyard and bring all the families over. I don’t think my parents had any idea I was planning to join that circus for the rest of my life, but I definitely wanted to. All those films really were battles.
My life was on a silver platter. I grew up in Orange County. You know, I lived the American dream, but there was something really fake about it. So, when I saw him, he lived in a neighborhood like I did when I used to make movies with my friends, but it felt like was in the battle. It was like seeing real courage for the first time ever.
I remember the scene in the movie Hotel Rwanda where Don Cheadle is sitting with Joaquin Phoenix, and he’s talking about, “You think anybody’s going to come help us? You know, they’re going to see this genocide, do you think they’re going to come help us?” Joaquin Phoenix turns to him and says, you know, “I think people are going to see this story, and they’re going to go ‘oh my gosh, that’s horrible,’ and then they’re going to go on eating their dinners.” I didn’t touch my food.
So, I decided to reach out to him. I reached out to the Times, got all of his information, sent an email out to Pastor Lee. A month later, he gets back to me in a Google-translated email and basically says this: “Dear Brian, this is Pastor Lee. I don’t know what it means to make a documentary film about my life, but you can come live with me if you want.”
I came back from this trip obviously affected. God uses the weak to shame the strong, you know? He used a person who didn’t believe in Him at all to make this movie. He used a man in the gutters of alcoholism and rage to save children, and the world is tipping their hat to him, and they have no idea that he is not a national born hero but that he was saved to save, and so was I.
Pastor Lee: This is definitely a global issue. I’m learning more and more that there are a lot of babies, and there are baby boxes in other nations. I believe about 18 to 19 countries have come to us and taken video footage of our ministry. And now this documentary and just thinking about it while I was praying, I came to realize that there is an answer, an answer from God to the cries of these little precious children all around the world. God has chosen this story to bring about the message of hope for those children. I do think that it’s God’s way of loving a life through awakening a lot of people around the world just like me, just like how God used a person like me in order to do what they are supposed to do in those places. I believe that’s the message.
Brian: This all started with a boy who was born that doctors said shouldn’t even continue to live because he’s going to live his whole life on his back, and he’s done so for 29 years. As the film says, he’s the reason why Pastor Lee cared about the voiceless and the vulnerable people. His son, Eun-man, is who taught me that God loves me even though all I have to offer him is my sin. It’s amazing to me that God used a boy on his back to change the whole world. If He can use Eun-man, then he can use us broken people too.
Watch the trailer for "Drop Box" below: