By: Dan Bartkowiak
After braving the icy elements in Central PA Tuesday night to see the opening of The Drop Box, I left very encouraged that I made the trip. Here’s why:
1) The Drop Box beautifully told this amazing story. The film focuses entirely on Pastor Lee and his children – I had thought it might follow Director Brian Ivie and his story (which is interesting) but I appreciated the attention on this family and the issue surrounding The Drop Box.
2) Pastor Lee Jong-rak is nothing short of inspirational. His heart for his son Eun-man (born with crippling cerebral palsy) led to more parents seeking his fatherly care which eventually turns into the creation of the drop box. Pastor Lee has saved at least 354 babies through this ministry – each with a prayer of thankfulness to God for sparing their life. “They’re not the insignificant ones in the world. God sent them here for a purpose.” – Pastor Lee
3) It made the issue of abandoned babies more real to me. It’s heartbreaking to realize how many women look to the Drop Box as their answer. Every time the bell rings indicating a baby has been “dropped,” Pastor Lee’s heart drops as well. He recalls conversations with girls whose first thought was suicide – to kill herself and her baby. How the letters left with babies say “I’m sorry” and “please don’t try to find me.” The film touches on the debate that surrounds baby boxes and how some say having the box doesn’t help and only causes more women to abandon babies. After getting a glimpse into Pastor Lee’s life, it’s quite unfathomable to say it doesn’t help.
4) It shines a light on how this is more than just a South Korean issue. When the film talks about this as a global issue, the first news story that came up was a CBS 21 report on the story from Lancaster of the teen who gave birth in her school’s bathroom and dumped the baby in the trash. I know I can get caught up thinking our problem in America is the killing of babies in the womb but it’s much deeper than that. There is some encouragement to know that Pennsylvania has policies in place like the Newborn Protection Act (2003) that allows for parents to give their newborn to the hospital no questions asked. Good policy is needed but just like for the teen in Lancaster, there’s more efforts needed to reach women and families.
5) The Drop Box tells it like it is. At the end of the documentary is a brief interview with Director Brian Ivie along with Steven Curtis & Beth Chapman and Kelly Rosati (Focus on the Family). Kelly made a great point in her thanks to Brian for telling the truth about how hard this can be. Pastor Lee has taken a physical toll for doing what he’s doing – he has diabetes, he’s lost weight, he gets very little sleep. The film doesn’t sugar-coat the strength needed for what Pastor Lee is doing. But it’s “by faith, with prayer and the Word” that he cares for these children.
6) It’s a genuine story that showcases the power of love. You see that in the heart of the director. He goes from thinking this is his ticket to the Sundance film festival to then witnessing the loving kindness of one man and it turns his world around into becoming a Christian. “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.” Brian took a moment to thank Pastor Lee at the opening of the film for what he has taught him about courage, about what love means and for the strength to get up every time the bell rings.
I highly recommend seeing The Drop Box. Its in 28 theaters throughout Pennsylvania tonight and Thursday.
A number of people braved the elements to see it with me – there were young couples, families with kids, a youth group and seniors attending. Though some discretion may be needed being an adult topic, the film is something the whole family should see (Focus on the Family does not suggest any age restrictions – click here to read the PluggedIn movie review). And a portion of your movie ticket will go to Pastor Lee’s ministry. Also – direct donations can be made to help him build an orphanage at TheDropBoxFilm.com.
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Ps. 27:10