Passport Through Darkness, by Kimberly L. Smith, available on Amazon.com.
Kimberly L. Smith captured my heart from the moment she stepped foot in South Sudan for the first time. I could well imagine the horror she felt on her first mission trip into the war-torn country and the subsequent journeys that led to more heartbreak and challenges to her mind, body, and soul. I never felt her soul was truly in danger, though the enemy tried his best to convince her otherwise. She shows through perseverance and obedience to God that His grace is sufficient even in the most hellish places. He works through broken vessels regardless of mistakes and self-doubts. Kimberly is painfully honest about her mistakes, yet her heart for women and orphans she ministers to comes through loud and clear.
There are humorous moments, especially with Kimberly’s South Sudan orphanage leader James Lual Atak. My favorite is when she “test drives” a donkey. The reader journeys with Kimberly and James on dirtbikes, through the thorny bush, battling wild animals, across rivers, and in the back of makeshift ambulances. In a country that lacks the most basic infrastructure or even availability of clean water, the challenges of building orphanages seemed insurmountable. Yet they never lost sight of the goal of providing for the “least of these” living in the bush where evil and nature claimed lives daily. Through James and Kimberly’s faithfulness, God helped them over each hurdle encountered.
Based on previous reviews, I initially feared this book would be too dark for me. I wondered if I could handle what I would read. After praying, I purchased it then prayed again before reading. A book’s ability to totally enthrall and inspire its reader legitimizes its existence. Passport Through Darkness has done this and more.
While death, disease, despair, and man-made cruelty riddle the pages, a fundamental tenet of Christianity is dying to self. This means willingness to give up everything for the cause of Christ, including fears and doubts that you’ll be equal to the task. Sometimes it means going alone into enemy territory when your sick spouse can’t accompany you. It made the author’s journey more tedious, but residing inside the will of God means trusting His hand to guide you, despite earthly troubles.
It could be said that if hell on earth exists, surely it’s in South Sudan. Yet Christ admonished Peter that the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against his church. It’s incumbent upon Christians to bring that light to humanity’s darkest places. Kimberly L. Smith has shown us through her work in South Sudan that the hope and love of Christ can penetrate evil’s deepest pits.
It’s often asked, “What can one person accomplish?” when the question ought to be, “What can one person obedient to God’s will accomplish?” The author answers this resoundingly in Passport Through Darkness.
©Laura Hodges Poole
Visit Make Way Partners for more information on Kimberly's work.