A Pastor in Seoul, South Korea has saved over 1,600 babies who were abandoned by parents and single moms through “Babybox”.
Jong-Rak Lee is the pastor of Jusarang Community Church in Seoul, South Korea. He created the Babybox in Korea in December 2009 to take care of babies who were abandoned and left to die outside.
Pastor Lee faced several hardships, when his biological son Eun-man, was born with a physical deformity. He was born with a lump on his left cheek. His son spent the first 14 years of his life in hospitals. The cost of treatment was also tremendous. Soon Eun-man’s body became completely paralyzed and also lack of oxygen made him lose his brain functions. He never healed again.
During these 14 years, Pastor Lee used to stay with his son in hospitals. In the hospitals, out of kindness he also prayed for other patients and children suffering from physical or mental deformity.
Often he encountered orphans in the hospitals who were left abandoned. In an interview, he shared one such incident- that one day a lady came up to him and said “I’ve seen you at the hospital taking care of your son. My granddaughter has the same symptoms, everyone in my family has disabilities, I don’t have too many days left, Please take care of my granddaughter after I die”.
After she died Pastor Lee accepted her wholeheartedly with the belief that God had given her to him. Similarly, one cold evening a woman anonymously abandoned her child outside Lee’s door. And in no time children who had been abandoned by their parents started coming to him. Later he started the Babybox where they set up a baby box hatch system on the wall of the community house. It’s like a dropbox that faces outside for moms to leave their babies in it. They kept a message above the Babybox: “If you can’t raise your baby because he or she was born with a deformity, or you’re a single mother, don’t leave your baby to die. Open the box below and place your baby inside.”
It is “equipped with an air conditioner and an alert system to let staff know when a baby arrives.” Once the mother places the baby inside the Babybox, the alarm rings. Within seconds, the baby is safe in the organization’s arms.
According to the pastor, in an interview with Asian Boss, the organization gets roughly 220-250 babies a year. Today, it has already saved more than 1,600 abandoned babies.
They not only take care of abandoned babies, but also take care of the moms who decided to abandon their babies by offering counseling.
“When we open the door and see the mom, we say ‘Let’s chat for a minute’. So, we try to counsel them,” said Pastor Jong-Rak. They encourage these mothers and try to convince them to raise the baby themselves if they can while receiving support from the Babybox Community.
Further, when asked about his future plans for the community, the pastor responded, “In the future, there should be no more Babybox.”
He explained, “That means we need to take care of single mothers. I want to build a village where the mothers can safely raise their children and live independently. And those mothers whose children have disabilities will be able to grow their own small gardens for sustenance. That’s what we’re planning and praying about.” He also added that he would keep doing this work tirelessly until God calls him home.
People like Jong-Rak Lee are an inspiration for all of us. He taught us that irrespective of our personal struggles, we can always lend a helping hand to those in need. Let this story of Jong-Rak Lee motivate all of us to help those in need around us.