When helpless infants are being left out on the street to die in Seoul, South Korea, pastor Lee Jong-rak couldn’t just stand by. He installed a “baby box” in an opening at the side of the church. A simple sign, when translated, reads “place to leave babies.” Photo courtesy Focus on the Family.

Drop Box film chronicles pastor’s quest to save unwanted babies

Movie’s atheist director finds God while filming South Korean documentary

It is hard to imagine a world where helpless infants are left out on the street to die, unwanted and alone. But that is exactly what is happening in Seoul, South Korea.

But Lee Jong-rak, a pastor at Joosarang Church, couldn’t bear the reality. Instead he took steps to find a solution, placing a “baby box” in an opening at the side of the church. A simple sign, when translated, reads “place to leave babies.”

Women in crisis can place their baby in the box, at which time a bell rings in the building and immediately a worker comes to get the child, who is then cared for and loved.

Not only have Jong-rak’s efforts saved several babies, his story has been made into a documentary. This month across Canada, Focus on the Family releases The Drop Box, which details Jong-rak’s story and his efforts to rescue Seoul’s most vulnerable.

Official reports from South Korea estimate about 600 babies are left to die on the streets of Seoul every year, but the belief is that number is far greater. Often these children are physically or mentally disabled or born to single mothers who cannot overcome the financial pressures of raising a child.

The Drop Box follows Jong-rak, the Joosarang Church, and the children, previously unwanted and now unconditionally loved, as they grow up. Jong-rak has 19 children and all but two have been adopted through the ministry.

Now his story is the subject of a documentary, following Jong-rak and his 19 children. The film was so powerful, the atheist director became a Christian after making the film.
Now his story is the subject of a documentary, following Jong-rak and his 19 children. The film was so powerful, the atheist director became a Christian after making the film.

Those bringing the film to Canada say it is a powerful story of love and hope, which puts the focus on the value of every life. Even Brian Ivie, the award-winning, formerly atheist director of the film, was forever changed. He gave his life to Christ after making the film.

“I had no idea while I was making a film about saving Korean babies that God was going to save me,” he says.

Changing the way people view life is one of the reasons Focus on the Family is bringing the film to Canada.

“We strongly believe…a lot of culture and values are set by Hollywood,” says Lee Tufford of Focus on the Family. “So we want to bring a response to theatres. A godly film that will challenge people not just in their mindset but also in their hearts of how they will perceive life.”

Winnipeg film director and director of the Real to Reel Film Festival, Paul Boge, says movies like these are important.

“We all live busy lives and it is not possible to do our own research on every social issue,” he says. “Documentaries like these give us a chance to understand issues that impact us and the world around so we can be better informed about our responsibility in responding to those issues.”

The documentary will show March 4 -5 in select theatres across Canada, with a portion of the proceeds going to help Jong-rak and his ministry.

Dear Readers:

If ChristianWeek has made a difference in your life, please take a minute and donate to help give voice to stories that inform, encourage and inspire.

Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable receipt.
Thank you, from Christianweek.

About the author

ChristianWeek Western Correspondent

  • Alisha Camacho

    I want to know, how I could donate money to Pastor Lee and his family. The documentary I witnessed on Netflix. Has touched my heart greatly! Please, contact me.