Philip Yancey, author of What’s So Amazing About Grace?, said of the film: “Without fanfare, one ordinary man in a poor neighbourhood of Seoul, Korea, has now saved almost 600 babies from certain death. He embodies the grace that I write about. I’ll never forget my visit to Pastor Lee’s home, a day I relived over and over as I watched the film The Drop Box.”
Hundreds of unwanted babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul every year, forgotten by the surrounding culture. 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 is about the work of Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his efforts to embrace and protect his community’s most vulnerable children. By installing a drop box outside his home, Lee provides a safe haven to babies who would otherwise be abandoned on the streets to die.
The movie follows Lee, the Joosarang Church and the children as they grow up; Lee has 19 children and all but two have been adopted through the ministry.
The Christian Post interviewed Brian Ivie, the young filmmaker who made The Drop Box, about why he made the film and the impact it had on him:
Ivie was inspired to make the documentary after reading a front page story about Lee in the Los Angeles Times. Ivie, a junior studying filmmaking at the University of Southern California at the time, recalled a scene from Hotel Rwanda as he read the article.
In that film about the Rwandan genocide, a character played by Don Cheadle asked the character played by Joaquin Phoenix if anyone was going send help. The Phoenix character answered that people were going to look at what was happening and say, “oh, that’s horrible,” and then go back to eating their dinners.
Rather than finish his meal, Ivie decided to act. Through the LA Times reporter, he got in touch with Lee, who told Ivie he . . . was welcome to come stay with him. Before long, Ivie and a film crew (11 people total) were on their way to South Korea.
“We could not have anticipated how this would change the course of all of our lives,” Ivie said.
Ivie dedicated his life to Christ during the making of the film. In his ignorance, he admitted, he thought he was already a Christian simply because he believed he was a good person.
“For me, I didn’t smoke cigarettes and I watched Fox News with my mom, so I assumed I was a Christian,” he said. “. . . I needed to see my sin, but even more than that, I needed to see God’s love that wanted me in the midst of it. And that’s what [Pastor Lee] showed me, a representation of the Father’s love. A father’s love is so much different than a pardoning love . . . ‘I will literally die for you because I love you that much.'”
The Drop Box is being presented by Focus on the Family Canada. The documentary will be shown March 4 and/or 5 at theatres across Canada. Apart from Vancouver, it will also be in Richmond, Surrey, Coquitlam, Langley and Abbotsford. Go here for locations.
Forever Families of Canada
No doubt the Park family will be interested in The Drop Box. They have developed a deep concern for adoption following a trip to South Korea four years ago. A story in ChristianWeek describes their journey:
The lives of Harold and Wendi Park were turned upside down unexpectedly in November 2011 on a family trip to South Korea. They never expected attending an ‘Orphan Sunday’ would be the beginning of a faith-based network for foster care and adoption.
Wendi says she and her husband were led to be a part of a Canadian movement, and Forever Families of Canada was born. Its mission statement is “to facilitate greater capacity in the Canadian church to effectively care for waiting children through national networking, education and local leadership development.”
The Parks both resigned from their previous jobs, invested time in prayer, sought wisdom and travelled throughout Canada and the U.S. to see what God was already doing and to discover what God wanted from them.