ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — The producer of an acclaimed documentary that recently hit theaters across the country and is currently being shown in churches nationwide is sharing his story of how he came to Christ as a result of his work on the film.
Brian Ivie, 24, is the director of the film “The Drop Box,” a documentary that tells the story of South Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak, who is credited with saving countless abandoned babies who might have otherwise have died after being left on the streets by their mothers.
While facing health issues with his own son, Jong-rak began taking “unwanted” children into his home, and soon built a heated dropbox with an in-home buzzer alert in case other mothers sought to leave their babies in his care. He now operates an orphanage at his home, where he cares for 20 abandoned children, and has made himself available to help save as many babies as he can.
Ivie had read about Jong-rak and decided to create a short film about his work. But that the time, he wasn’t a Christian, although he thought he was.
“I honestly thought I was a Christian because I wasn’t a Muslim. I thought I was a Christian because, you know, it’s like you’re American, you’re a Christian, like apple pie and the Bible,” he recently told LifeSite News.
“I just figured I was a Christian because I didn’t smoke cigarettes, and I watched Fox News with my mom,” Ivie continued. “It was a very cultural label for me. It was a very decorative thing, like a decorative cross you put in the house, but you have no understanding of what it is.”
In fact, the film student actually purchased a cross necklace to wear for his visit to South Korea to serve as a friendly symbol of connection with the pastor, but he soon learned learned how lightly he had been taking the meaning of it.
“[A]t some point, the cross can’t be something you buy on Amazon for $8; it has to be what bought you,” he stated.
When Ivie met Jong-rak, a former alcoholic, and saw his selfless love for God and his compassion for disabled children in action, he was impacted. He knew that he wanted to make a feature film about the pastor’s work in South Korea. Ivie says that he was again touched when he began fundraising for the effort and witnessed a number of Christians generously seeking to help.
“For me, Christians, at the time—well, evangelical Christians—were crazy people, hypocrites, haters, whatever you want to call them,” he told World Magazine. “But I was experiencing something really authentic. People were giving in a very authentic fashion and did not want to be known for it.”
Later, Ivie listened to a podcast on the cross of Christ, and he began realizing his need for the Savior as he thought about all the things that he had done wrong, and how Jesus paid the penalty for his crimes against God.
“I broke down. I started crying. All I could say was: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’” he recalled. “Even for a guy who didn’t lead some extreme life—I wasn’t the leader of some Mexican cartel, I didn’t almost overdose on heroine, I didn’t murder anybody in cold blood—but I needed to be forgiven, because I had done some shameful things, especially towards God. I realized all that, and knew that I needed to be saved too.”
Now, in addition to helping tell the story of Jong-rak and in encouraging others to help save abandoned children around the world, Ivie hopes that “The Dropbox” will draw men to Christ just like it did for himself. He shares his story in the book “The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever.”
“My hope is that people realize that they need to be saved and that they would see themselves in these kids and God as Pastor Lee,” Ivie told reporters last month. “Because to me, he’s living proof of a loving God, and God is putting himself on display through this man.”
“I think ‘The Dropbox’ symbolizes where we all belong: the place where we say, ‘God, I give up. I need You,” he said.
Editor’s Note: To bring “The Drop Box” to your church for a showing, please click here.
Photo: Focus on the Family