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Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances Paperback – January 1, 2011
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About the Author
Kimberly Smith Highland is President of Make Way Partners, an international organization committed to prevent and combat human trafficking. She is also a published author. Passport through Darkness, her first book, received wide acclaim including the INSPY Best Creative Nonfiction Award. She blogs regularly, sharing rich and reflective stories from her experiences of finding Hope in all corners of the world, including in the vilest forms of human trafficking and her personal, daily struggles with faith and courage. Powerful and well respected news sources such as TIME.com has also published Kimberly's writing.
Fighting to end human trafficking in the darkest corners of our world, skeptics declared many of the tasks set before her as impossible. However, fueled by compassion and incensed by grotesque injustice, Kimberly led Make Way Partners to the successful completion of building the first orphanage on the border of Darfur, Sudan. Building supplies had to be transported nearly 2,000 miles over hostile terrain with no roads or bridges. Today MWP continues to build upon that groundbreaking success and leads a powerful, indigenously based anti-trafficking network spanning Sudan and South Sudan.
Kimberly is passionate about helping others to discover their unique purpose in this world. She leads the daily operations of MWP, and divides her time between each of its international locations, writing, and public speaking in the US and abroad. Kimberly also enjoys blazing new trails with others on their journey-most notably her horse and constant companion, Rusty-the-True-that rescued her along the way.
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This is how the book begins. But it doesn't even begin to describe the journey two ordinary people embarked on when they stepped out in faith with God. Told by Kimberly, we follow them through the beginnings of missionary work, that leads them into eye-opening discoveries of some of the horrific evils at work in this world. At each turn, they can choose to go back to the comfort of life as they knew it, or continue walking step by step with God. They take up the fight against human trafficking, famine, disease, genocide, slavery, and so much more. Because of Milton's health, Kimberly steps out into the front lines of the battle field alone, and the war almost kills her.
From a literary standpoint, this was an extremely well written book, full of beautiful language and a storyline that flows off of the lips of the author like honey. Yet, this was the hardest book to finish that I have ever read. I `know' of the suffering of people in other countries. But Kimberly takes us on a journey that holds nothing back in describing unimaginable horrors, and like a child peeking through their fingers, I wanted to cover my eyes and stop looking as I read. I wept through the entire book, yet it was impossible to stop. If those people had to endure such unimaginable pain and suffering, how could I not even listen to the cries of their voices?
One of the most appalling parts of the book was not the suffering of the people described. It was the reaction of the people here at home who Kimberly and Milton shared their story with. I believe apathy to be one of the greatest evils in our country. We all feel bad for a second, then pick up our iPhones and check to see what new drama our friends have on Facebook. I'm still so emotionally raw from this book, I probably should not be reviewing it yet. Yet this is a book I feel every Christian should read. It is a wake up call. Where are you, warriors of Christ who are willing to storm the gates of hell?? This morning, clean drinking water from the tap never tasted so good and the roof over my head never felt so secure. I looked at all my children, and cried again as the thought of even one of them begging me for food or being tortured before my eyes, slammed into me.
This book is not complete darkness. Because with God, even the darkness is like light (Ps 139). Throughout the book, pearls of beauty and light shine to illuminate both the trials of Kimberly and the people around her. Kimberly herself is almost swallowed by the darkness, yet through it, God shines through and restores her soul to a place of healing and beauty.
This book deserves more than 5 stars. I would (and will) recommend it to everyone. The only warning is that it is very, very graphic.
I want to THANK Kimberly Smith for sharing her story just the way she did. While at times I thought I would be nauseous there were other times I felt compassion and love, and sorrow. It was truly a love story, between husband and wife, the people of Sudan, and between her and God. I don't think I have ever read a book of such courage. It took great courage to admit weaknesses, failures, and struggles; courage to admit sin and the miraculous forgiveness that follows repentance. I am glad this was not another book of only triumph; it was real life, real struggles, real Christians living out God's plan and seeing his hand at work through his human creation.
There is no way to read the stories contained within this book and not be changed!
"God, use me or take me out. Please. I am begging You. I don't want to live this way. I can't live this way any longer. I'm desperate to know why I'm here. Use me or take me out."
Not long after that prayer her husband would come across an article sharing about a need for missionaries in Spain. In his earlier years, he had actually been a missionary in Spain. He came home to share his desire with Kimberly.While she fought it at first, God eventually got her to the place of surrender.
They established a student ministry along with a street ministry. Across the border into Portugal they learned of an orphanage housing African immigrant children that needed assistance. A deeper secret was to be revealed as the Smith's learned that sex trafficking was going on with these children. After a two year battle, where their life was threatened and they had to return their daughters to the states because their lives were threatened also, the children were finally returned to their broken family units.
They returned to the states and birthed Make Way Partners to help women and children in the countries where sex trafficking was most prominent. As Milton was battling some health issues, Kimberly was asked to go to Sudan.
Sudan would forever change Kimberly and her relationship with her husband who would remain behind. His health wouldn't allow him to go but he knew God wanted Kimberly to go and he would trust Him to bring her back each time. The people and events Kimberly encountered will forever be etched in the reader's mind as will the strength and perseverance of Kimberly and Milton.
For some time, Kimberly carried a dark event with her. She never shared it with her husband. Her secrecy was driving a wedge in their marriage. Finally she spilled her heart out to him and they were slowly able to begin the healing process of restoration within their marriage.
Passport through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith opened my eyes to the atrocities that go on in Sudan. My heart was opened to a woman who, like me, struggles daily with sin. She writes:
"Where were the books about the real people who found Jesus but still kept sinning, failing, fighting and struggling against themselves throughout their lives, as the good work was being completed?"
I ask myself that question many times.