'Passport through Darkness' Gives Victims Voice
Stifling heat vapors appear on the horizon. Laughing hyenas cackle too close for comfort in the bush. Take a step closer toward a dusty canvas tent. Meet Kimberly L. Smith and travel into her desert world as she pulls back the flap door of her "tent of meeting" (Ex. 33:7). In Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances (David Cook, 2011), Smith gives you a front-row seat to God's work amid monstrous evil in Sudan, Peru, the Congo, and Romania—and inside Smith's own heart. With courage and transparency, she recounts how God helped her face her fears and live through challenges in her work as president of Make Way Partners (MWP), a Christian anti-trafficking agency based in Birmingham, Alabama.
Kimberly and husband Milton first learned of human trafficking in 2002 while serving as missionaries in the Iberian Peninsula. They found children being trafficked through an orphanage, and spent the next two years learning all they could about what's called the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, one that brings an estimated 17,500 people annually into the U.S. alone. The Smiths gathered information from books and governmental reports but also, most importantly, from spending time with victims of trafficking and those most vulnerable in the streets, sewers, deserts, and jungles. Now Smith is working to build the only private and indigenous anti-trafficking network in Africa and Eastern Europe.
Passport through Darkness recounts the stories of forgotten victims, most of whom have been maimed, raped, and tortured, some of whom are now dead. Many have suffered because of their faith in Christ. With painstakingly loving detail, Smith shares so that others will hear their desperate cries. Among these are three Sudanese: Teresa, Tonj, and Tamar.
During Smith's first journey in Sudan, Teresa, age 6, was brought to her "severely dehydrated, weak from malnutrition, and infection oozed from her right eye." The village where Teresa and her mother had been staying was looted and burned to the ground by the Janjaweed, the Sudan-backed Arab militia that roam Darfur. With no medicine to give Teresa, Smith told her, "I promise you when I get home, I will tell every person I know … I will come back to you with help." By the time she returned, Teresa was dead.
Tonj, a Christian Sudanese man in his 40s, struggled to represent his family with dignity as he told how Janjaweed soldiers "ripped him from his family's arms," beat him, and insisted that he confess Allah as God. The soldiers left him bleeding from wounds hacked by machetes, then went after his family. The soldiers raped his wife and tied her and the children up with ropes, dragging them behind militia horses. The last that Smith heard, Tonj had enlisted in the Sudanese People's Liberation Army.
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