A documentary about a South Korean pastor who is credited with saving countless abandoned babies who might have otherwise have died abandoned on the streets is set to open in theaters nationwide early next Spring.
“The Dropbox” tells the story of Lee Jong-rak, who in 2009, constructed a “heated bin lodged in a wall that allows mothers to deposit their children without being seen.” The effort to save South Korea’s “unwanted” children sprung out of Jong-rak’s own experience as his son, Eun-man, was born with cerebral palsy, leaving him bedridden. The pastor sold his house to pay the medical bills, and Jong-rak and his wife and daughter practically lived at the hospital for the next decade.
But it was during this time that Jong-rak became a testimony of love to those around him.
“[A]s Lee preached and sang songs in the hallways, he soon developed a reputation as ‘a lover of the unlovable,'” an outline on the film’s website reads. “Pastor Lee became known throughout the hospital for his unceasing love for ‘the boy on his back.'”
One woman who witnessed Jong-rak’s great love for his son then asked him to adopt her disabled daughter, and so he did. He bought another home and began taking in other children from the hospital. Soon, word began to spread that Jong-rak was caring for the children of South Korea, and he awoke one day to find a baby abandoned on his doorstep.
But because the mother had left the infant out in the cold where she could have frozen to death, Jong-rak decided to build a heated dropbox with an in-home buzzer alert in case other mothers sought to bring their babies to his doorstep. Within just a few days, more babies began to come.
“One of the mothers told me that she had poison to kill both herself and her baby,” Jong-rak says in the trailer for “The Dropbox.” “So I told her, ‘Don’t do that. Come here with your baby.'”
He also shares the story of a baby named Gi-ri, who was dropped off with a letter from his mother.
“I’m asking you to take my son,” it read. “Please don’t try to find me. And I am sorry. I am so sorry.”
Jong-rak currently has 20 children living at his orphanage, which are all cared for by himself and his wife. But the pastor says that it is not just in South Korea, where an estimated 600 babies are abandoned every year, that Christians need to be the hands and feet of Christ in this manner.
“It’s not only Korea that has these types of problems,” he outlines. “Globally, there are babies that die due to abandonment.”
The trailer for “The Dropbox,” which is produced by Kindred Image in Los Angeles, a Christian organization that hopes to encourage others to help save abandoned children around the world, has gone viral in the two years that it has been posted online, receiving millions of views.
Now, the film is set to come to theaters in the spring, with a special showing March 3, 4 and 5 in select theaters nationwide. Filmmaker Brian Ivie, Grammy and Dove Award-winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman, his wife Mary Beth, and moderator for the evening, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, will also speak in addition to the showing.
“They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world,” Jong-rak says of the world’s abandoned children. “God sent them here for a reason.”
Editor’s Note: To learn if “The Dropbox” will be showing at a theater near you, please click here.