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Korean Church Rescues Abandoned Children

The documentary film, The Drop Box, tells the remarkable story of Lee Jong-Rak, pastor of Jusarang (God's Love) Community Church in Seoul, South Korea. Worldwide, millions of children are abandoned at birth. But in South Korea, because of a strict social code, the problem is especially acute—and it's growing.

Unwanted children are often left to die in an alley or street corner or dumped in a trash bin. But occasionally they're left on someone's doorstep. When some of those unwanted newborns started being placed on Pastor Lee's church steps, he decided to take action. He and his wife, spurred by their Christian faith and the experience of raising a son with extreme disabilities, began to take in these children. Because of the long, cold winters in South Korea, he eventually built a "drop box" into the front wall of the church. With a door that opens from the outside as well as the inside, it's like a baby-sized drawer, complete with light bulb, heater, and a loud bell that alerts his family when a baby is placed in the box.

Today, Pastor Lee's family and a small group of volunteers provide a loving home for more than a dozen mildly to severely disabled children at a time. Over the years, they have saved hundreds of abandoned newborns.

Some have criticized Pastor Lee. They say his compassion encourages mothers to abandon their children. But history shows that abandonment has been happening for generations. Despite the criticism, enormous cost, overwhelming amount of work, and the lack of any government funding—Pastor Lee and his family continue. Night after night, Pastor Lee stays up listening for the alarm. When a new baby arrives, he races downstairs, bundles up the child, and prays.

Both Christian and secular audiences have flocked to see the film. The Hollywood Reporter (the secular journal of the entertainment industry) was so enthusiastic about the film, it finished its report with this:

[The director of The Drop Box], Brian Ivie, was transformed by the making of the film. He grew up going to church on Christmas and Easter and considering himself a Christian "because I didn't smoke cigarettes and I watched Fox News with my mom. It was a decorative label." But witnessing Lee's sacrifice and compassion for the abandoned children changed his perspective. "These kids were helpless." he says, "and I realized I was broken and helpless too, and I also needed to be rescued."

Ivie actually went to South Korea to make a different movie, but once he met Dr. Lee and saw the work he and his team were doing, he changed his plans, produced The Drop Box, and in the process, dedicated his life to Christ.

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