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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Non-fiction Review--Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances

Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, by Kimberly L. Smith impacts on many levels. I was interested in this book, since the author and her husband began being missionaries in Spain and then moved on to help in an orphanage in Portugal. Sadly, they soon picked up on the unbridled sexual abuse in that orphanage, and they prosecuted the owner-operators, who fled. 

The Smiths wondered how many more vulnerable children were out there—children without any voice. Soon, they would find out.

I usually read at night. This book is the stuff of nightmares. I am positive that the author made Passport Through Darkness as palatable as possible. She only told part of what she had seen and experienced, but it is still difficult to take in. I personally would only recommend this book to mature adults. It is too graphic and raw for teens and even young adults. It includes the sexual exploitation of children, rape, extramarital temptations, death—so much death, and sometimes you feel hopeless. I mean, who can fight against such evils? The enemy is real.

The author and her husband visit Sudan and see for themselves horrors that so touch their hearts that they start an association, Make Way Partners. They try to involve others in saving orphans.

The author goes back alone to Sudan. (Her husband is quite ill with diabetes.) She teams up with a native pastor, who is trying to save children. The dangers are brutal—hyenas, slavery, rape, sickness, early pregnancies—and the small, safe place doesn’t have room for many of the children. She decides to go back to the United States and raise funds to build a large, fenced compound for the orphans. 

As she goes around to speak to churches and other groups, she runs into the understandable problem that people are being emotionally disturbed by the realities. Could she please not come back?

Besides compassion, one of the huge positive takeaways from this book is the importance of transparency in marriage. The author describes the challenges she experiences in her marriage and how she finally came to tell her husband all the facts about her time in Sudan. It was hard for her to do, since some of her experiences were so horrible she didn’t want to share them. But, it was important for him to understand her—his other half. She talks about the importance of refreshing times as a couple, and much more. I very much appreciated this aspect of Passport Through Darkness.

I feel at a loss whether to recommend this book or not. It is raw and brutally honest, yet you get the feeling there is so much more to the story—and you don’t want to hear it. I feel that I personally profited by it, because it exposes the plight of too many children in our world. It also motivates me to pray for workers and funds to help these vulnerable little ones. I appreciated very much the emphasis on transparency in marriage—even in the super ugly stuff—and I feel her story is profitable in that aspect as well. 

This is not a feel good book. It is not pretty. It doesn’t uplift. But, it is well written and certainly has merit for the reasons I describe. Again, Passport Through Darkness is not for young people, and you’ll want to read it during the day and follow it up with some Psalms.


  1. "It´s a very unusual book, to say the least. It is NOT "easy reading" and I found putting it down for a few days and coming back to it was a better way for me to get through it. Lou Ann is correct in recommending it only for mature, God-conscience adults. It is worth the read, to me, because of the insight into so many aspects that Christians overlook or don't think exist in our pretty little 'have it your way' churches.


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