As a writer and advocate against human trafficking, I understand the task of drudging through the horror stories of human trafficking and that the dichotomy of good and evil is palpable. The task leaves you vacillating between wanting to wail and upend anything in your path at the injustice and at other times wanting to weep endlessly for the broken and shattered lives left in the carnage of it all. It presents the glaring certainty that even on our worst day others have it MUCH, MUCH worse. However, this is only writing about it, not living it.
You CAN imagine what this author went through and that is what makes it beyond horrifying. The words are challenging and the perspective daunting. But God…is known to equip and qualify those He elects for His purposes.
Kimberly and her husband, Milton, are two such people. They were an American family living comfortably in the day-to-day routines of life when a mission trip to Spain and the unearthing of children being trafficked would propel them from their comfortable lifestyle into the painstaking reality of coming face to face with an all-consuming evil.
Kimberly shares their story with raw transparency. So much so, that there were times I would gasp out loud and set the book down wincing from the atrocities they and others they met along their path endured, only to pick it right back up to know how this would all end.
With God as her Fortress, Kimberly and her kindred warriors left any semblance of security to enter the chaotic and war-torn land of Sudan. Women, children and country were ravaged by their genocidal president and the soldiers he commissioned to rape, enslave, plunder, burn alive and terrorize in this desolate place, the Janjaweed.
Having to eventually leave her beloved husband in the states due to health issues and understanding that friends and family were vocally bewildered by their desire to leave the stability of their American life and enter into such ‘scandalous’ work, they forged ahead.
One of the early reality checks was within the church community. One church in particular that financially supported the Smith’s missionary work thought their congregation would benefit in knowing more about the work they were doing and invited the Smith’s to share their story.
Milton and Kimberly worked diligently to put together a presentation that would be appropriate for such a setting and sensitive to the audience. They would only share enough information so that their audience understood the nature of what was happening without being overtly graphic or overwhelming while simultaneously honoring the integrity of those suffering the atrocities. But that abruptly changed when a deacon and his wife took the Smith’s to lunch after one of their presentations and said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but some of the women in our classes are very upset by the things you are sharing. One lady even told me, “If this is the kind of depressing thing I’m going to have to listen to when I come to church, then I don’t think I want to come.” I’m sure you understand that we can’t have that. Can we? So, I’m sorry, but I have to ask you not to come back.”
Nonetheless they pressed forward on their mission and pushed back against the prevailing darkness that surrounded Sudan and its people. Sometimes, the darkness they pushed back against was in their own hearts.
This story is not an easy one nor is it for the faint of heart. This is the gruesome reality of what evil looks like in flesh and bones. But it is also the story of what the hands and feet of Christ look like. His redemptive power to restore and heal is seen throughout like the illustrious stars against a pitch black sky.
Their obedience and perseverance birthed an organization called Make Way Partners. It is a Christian mission agency committed to preventing and combating human trafficking and all forms of modern-day slavery through educating and mobilizing the Church, the body of Christ.
I would encourage you to read Kimberly’s story and then prayerfully consider how you might be able to participate in alleviating the suffering in obedience and love of the Lord.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Please visit Make Way Partners at http://www.makewaypartners.org/
Or visit Kimberly’s website at http://www.kimberlylsmith.com/