It is not a fairy tale, it is a simple story of an hero from south Korea.
Lee Jong-rak is the creator of the Baby Box. His Baby Box is the first and only box in Korea that is for collecting abandoned babies who are physically or mentally handicapped or are just unwanted by their mothers and fathers.
Jong-rak knew that these are precious babies. He built a drop box on the side of his home with a sign reading, “Place to leave babies.”
The story of this man and his baby box is reaching the entire world thank to Brian Ivie, a young of 22 year old, who has done a 72 minute documentary called “The Drop Box”.
The inside of the box contains a thick towel covering the bottom, and lights and heating to keep the baby comfortable. A bell rings when someone puts a baby in the box, then Jong-rak, his wife, or staff associates come to immediately move the baby inside. His aim was to provide a life-giving alternative for desperate mothers in his city of Seoul. He didn’t really expect that babies would come in…but the babies came. In the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, some with notes, some without a word, and only a very few mothers actually spoke to him face-to-face. Pastor Jong-rak stated that one of the mothers said, “she had poison to kill both herself and her baby.” He responded, “Don’t do that. Come here with your baby.” One single mother left this heart-wrenching note with her baby:
“My baby! Mom is so sorry.
I am so sorry to make this decision.
My son! I hope you meet great parents, and I am very, very sorry .
I don’t deserve to say a word.
Sorry, sorry, and I love you my son.
Mom loves you more than anything else.
I leave you here because I don’t know who your father is.
I used to think about something bad, but I guess this box is safer for you.
That’s why I decided to leave you here. My son, Please forgive me.”
“Yes, this little box is a safer place than the plans that once haunted this single mother’s mind. Because this box was an alternative, she chose life. Thus, this box would be the beginning of a previously undreamed ministry in Korea, the ministry of the Baby Box," Lee Jong-rak said.
The documentary of Brian Ivie just won the “Best of Festival” Jubilee Award & “The Best Sanctity of Life” film award at the 8th annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival this past February. Ivie was stirred to do the film after reading an article in the LA Times about Pastor Jong-rak’s mission, and he decided to go to Korea to make the documentary.
In his acceptance speech, Ivie said, “These kids are not mistakes. They are important.” He went on saying, “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…, 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.”
Korea is not the only place that deals with child abandonment. Globally, millions of children die from abandonment. It takes different forms from country to country. They deserve to live just like any other human being. With incredible men and women like Pastor Lee Jong-rak, this world is seeing how life can be for these babies when we take them in; when we become a voice for the ones that cannot speak up for themselves. They are loved, they are cherished, and they are worthy just the way they are.
“They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them to the earth to use them.”
-Pastor Lee Jong-rak, The Drop Box documentary
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