An award-winning documentary about a South Korean pastor who rescues abandoned babies through a ‘drop box’ outside his home featured in US cinemas this week.
The film tells the inspiring story of Pastor Lee Jong-rak, who has saved the lives of hundreds of vulnerable children and given a home to many with severe disabilities needing constant care.
Pastor Lee installed the drop box in 2009 after a baby was abandoned outside his home and almost froze to death before she was found.
The drop box is heated, and a bell notifies Pastor Lee when a baby is placed inside – he passes the children on to the appropriate services, or looks after them in his home.
At the time of filming, Pastor Lee and his wife had 21 children in their home.
During the documentary, he said: “If I don’t do something to protect these children, I could be picking up their dead bodies at my gate.
“I can’t be here and not do anything about it.”
Above the box, is a sign which has Psalm 27:10, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in”.
He explained: “So we installed the baby box with God’s heart”.
Part of his inspiration for looking after these children came from his own son who was born with cerebral palsy.
Eun-man, which means ‘full of God’s grace’, has needed constant care for the last 28 years – he said that through his son, he learnt about the dignity of valuable life.
Film-maker Brian Ivie decided to produce the documentary about Pastor Lee after reading an article about the drop box in the LA Times in 2011.
Ivie became a Christian during the making of the film. He said he flew to South Korea to make a movie about saving babies, but had no idea that God was going to save him.
He said Pastor Lee showed him what God’s love is really like.
Ivie said: “Those kids that get dropped off in that box, they’re not the only ones that are broken, they’re not the only ones that are helpless.
“When it comes to living forever, we’re all like those kids – bound up, in the dark, waiting for somebody to come save us”.
He said: “I saw all these kids come through this drop box with deformities and disabilities, and eventually—like a ‘heaven flash’—I realized that I was one of those kids too; that I have a crooked soul, all this brokenness inside, but God still wanted me.”
In the US state of Indiana, politicians have voted in favour of a Bill to allow baby boxes, which could appear in hospitals, fire stations and churches.
The documentary has received nine awards, including Best Justice Film at the Los Angeles Justice Film Festival last year.
The film featured in US cinemas on March 3, 4 and 5.