Review: Passport through Darkness

Passport to DarknessRead this: Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, by Kimberly L. Smith.

For perhaps most Americans, their faith consists of going to church on Sunday, sending up an occasional prayer, and being nice. Some volunteer at church, or for a local ministry. Some read their Bible on a regular basis. A few go on short-term mission trips. But for Kimberly Smith, none of that was enough. She and her husband sensed God calling them away from their comfortable lives and onto the mission field.

When I picked up Smith’s autobiography, I thought it might be an interesting read. I had no idea. Be prepared to lose a lot of sleep over this book!

It took a while for the Smiths to say yes to God. Kimberly had a good job as a business executive, they lived in a lovely home, and life was good for them and their children. God can be relentless, however, and eventually she realized that answering His call was the only true option.

The first step was selling most of their belongings, packing up the kids still at home, and moving to Spain. And it was in Spain that God revealed His special calling. They were asked to help support a local ministry—a home for African orphans—but something seemed not quite right. Was it the run-down condition of the building? The unhealthy children?

The first step was selling most of their belongings, packing up the kids still at home, and moving to Spain. And it was in Spain that God revealed His special calling. They were asked to help support a local ministry—a home for African orphans—but something seemed not quite right. Was it the run-down condition of the building? The unhealthy children?

It turned out that these orphans were being abused, their bodies sold in a child prostitution ring. The Smiths were appalled—but the authorities weren’t interested. It took the Smiths years of stubborn insistence on justice before action was taken, and the children finally rescued.

That was a turning point for the American couple. Frustrated with the uncaring response of the police, Kimberly traveled to Africa to confront the problem at its origin. She ended up in Sudan at what can only be described as hell on earth.

With her husband too ill to travel, Kimberly made repeated trips to the Darfur region of this anarchic nation, partnering with local believers in an attempt to improve the lives of the people suffering in unimaginable conditions. For months at a time, she shared in their misery—not enough water to drink, not enough food to eat; hundreds of orphans with no shelter, at the mercy of the hyenas and other wild animals. Roaming bands of soldiers looking to rape and murder. Can one person make a difference?

The Smiths’ passion for trafficked orphans consumes them even back in the States. They spend their time advocating for these forgotten children, speaking at churches to raise awareness and funds to support the orphanages and other work in Sudan. You can sense their pain and frustration when some church leaders ask them to leave—that the topic is too unpleasant and it will upset their congregations.

I’ve read numerous missionary biographies. What sets this one apart is the honesty and transparency with which Kimberly writes. Her traumatic experiences overseas continue to haunt her after she returns home, almost destroying her marriage and her sanity. It isn’t until she “lets go and lets God” that He can begin her healing. This is a story of redemption, not only in Spain and Sudan, but in her own heart.

Once you pick up this true story, you won’t be able to stop reading. But Smith didn’t write this book just for entertainment. God may not be calling you to Darfur—but He’s calling you to something. Are you satisfied with Sunday Christianity? Or will you say yes to the God who loves all His children, no matter where they live?

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