January is Sanctity of Human Life month, so it’s very fitting that I share with you some more about a film project Focus has been working on called The Drop Box. I’ve highlighted this touching documentary in this blog before, and you’ll be hearing more about it in the weeks to come. The documentary highlights the work of Pastor Lee Jong-rak who leads Jusarang Community Church in Seoul, South Korea.
The hallmark ministry of Pastor Lee’s church is its care for children that are left in its “baby box,” a warm, safe receptacle where an infant can be left anonymously instead of being discarded in a cold alley or a dumpster.
There are any number of reasons mothers choose to place their babies in Jusarang’s baby box, but a common one is birth defects. Young mothers, desperate at the thought of raising a child with special needs or reeling from the cultural stigma of doing so, may feel unequipped to handle the enormous responsibility. To date, over 500 have left their babies to Pastor Lee’s care.
Some of these children come with physical challenges and some with significant developmental disabilities. Others deal with some degree of both. But no matter their condition, when they’re received, they aren’t treated like anonymous additions to a bustling orphanage. Pastor Lee and others at Jusarang treat each of these precious children like a member of the family.
Where does such love and perspective come from? Ultimately they come from God, who loves each of the children the same way He loves the so-called “perfect” child. In Pastor Lee’s heart, that love was awakened by God at the birth of Pastor Lee’s own son, Eun-man.
Eun-man was born with severe physical deformities and cognitive disabilities. He spent the first 14 years of his life in a hospital. His twisted limbs are unable to bear his weight. Eun-man, now in his late 20s, has been confined to a bed his entire life.
Pastor Lee is very honest about his reaction when he first saw his son.
“When Eun-man was born, I asked God at that moment ‘Why?’ Why did He give me ‘that kind of baby’? Why didn’t He give me a healthy baby? That thought immediately came to my mind. But it wasn’t even 30 seconds before I repented, ‘God, I am sorry. Thank you for giving him to me.’ So step by step, with faith, prayer and His words, I lived. That’s how I started this work.”
Through Eun-man, Pastor Lee learned the worth of each human life, even those that many might consider to be of diminished value.
“They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world,” he says of those with disabilities. “God sent them to Earth with a purpose. Disabled children teach many people, change many people, and help people reflect upon themselves, which is why they are the educators of society.”
Pastor Lee’s words are profound.
Think for a moment about those around you. Do you know someone with a disability, perhaps someone with a physical or developmental challenge? Do you know a family that has a child with special needs?
How do you view that person? Do you see him or her as someone whose life has deep meaning and purpose? As someone who is immeasurably precious?
The truth is that each human life, no matter what level of gifting or challenge, whatever ability or disability, is created in the image of God.
We don’t get our value from what we can or can’t do.
We get it from our Creator in whose likeness we are made.
That’s a beautiful lesson that Eun-man taught Pastor Lee, and one I hope we will all take to heart.
We’ll be releasing The Drop Box to U.S. audiences as a special theater event across the nation for three nights only on March 3, 4, and 5, 2015 (March 4 and 5 in Canada).
You can learn more about our special movie event at www.thedropboxfilm.com.