"I thought a purpose would make the suffering so much more bearable. But there was no purpose. Pure evil lacks any intent, except utter destruction; and utter destruction makes no sense at all." Pg. 145
Several times while reading Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith I had to stop. Not because the writing was bad, it is quite good, but because the details in the writing were a little bit too much to take in. Smith spent five years back forth to her home in Alabama and missionary work in Darfur, Sudan. Reading that quote above, it made me wonder why she did this?
Christian people and their beliefs are often under attack in Darfur. It isn't true of everyone in Darfur, but there are "soldiers" who take it upon themselves to force people into their religion or way of thinking. If you don't go with the program, rape, torture and other forms of violence can result. So why would a woman, a white woman, in a sea of black people go to a place where "pure evil" and "utter destruction" run rampant? Very simple. It was part of a plan God had for her.
Kimberly Smith and her husband Milton had reached a point in their lives where they were looking for a greater purpose. More meaning to life. Regardless of your religion, that feeling is a universal one. How do you leave your impact on this world? For the Smiths it was in missionary work, which took them to Spain initially and eventually Darfur. Health problems prevented Milton from making trips to Darfur. Kimberly made the long and emotionally-draining journeys alone.
The trips begin to take a toll on Kimberly herself and eventually her marriage. In the beginning, instead of sharing the feelings of hopelessness and despair with her husband, Kimberly kept them to herself. That can only work for so long. Some of the stories she describes were quite graphic, which caused me to put the book down. I had a vague idea of the subject matter when I read the e-mail pitch, but I don't think that really prepared me for reading it up close. Women lost their babies during childbirth, and in some cases died themselves because of inadequate medical care. Women and children burned alive. Women and children used as sex slaves. One burn victim didn't have full range of motion of her arms because the burns were so bad. Vivid descriptions of the smell. The list goes on and on. Ms. Smith must be a very strong person to have come out of that. Reading the book you will see how she was bruised but ultimately not broken.
Religious aspects aside, this book will definitely motivate you to do better in your life. It will remind you that there are always people who have it worse than you do.