Christian missionary Kimberly Smith's harrowing battle against human trafficking has led her on a life-altering journey toward discovering the true power that comes from living out one's faith to the fullest.
Smith, who started the organization Make Way Partners along with her husband Dr. Milton Smith, is saving the lives of scores of children through three orphanages they launched inside war-torn Sudan and South Sudan — and she's preparing to build something else that's unprecedented in the region: a hospital that will serve the physical, mental and spiritual needs of children.
It's a journey that Smith said she never thought she'd find herself on, describing the life she had before heading to Africa to save orphans.
"If it had been left to my design, I would still be making $300,000 a year in corporate America, buying new houses every day … that was it. I thought I was a Christian and I thought I would do lots of good things," Smith said on the Freefall podcast. "I would give away some money and I would go to church — and I served in soup kitchens. I had all the right things checked off of my list and I thought that was enough."
Despite those good deeds, she said she remembers feeling an "emptiness" that simply wouldn't go away. Smith knew something was missing, yet she couldn't quite put her finger on it — that is, until she said God showed her exactly what he wanted her to do.
Eventually, she felt led to Sudan and South Sudan, where her ministry took form and, through a series of fascinating events, she launched homes and schools for orphaned children; now, she's preparing to open the Faith, Love & Hope Hospital.
Listen to her describe her journey below:
"We have three different orphanages, and each one is about 1,000 miles apart from the other," Smith told TheBlaze. "We have a total of 1,500 orphans divided among those three orphanages. A hospital will be built… in our most secure location, which is in the south."
Smith explained that South Sudan is a war zone where disease runs rampant, noting that it is "also the number one country in the world for maternal death rates and for infant mortality." Preventable and treatable diseases can very easily become deadly, meaning that her hospital project could make a major difference.
The hospital will be special in that it won't just deal with the physical needs of the children in the orphanages; it will also be tailored to their emotional and spiritual needs.
"You have the traumatized caring for the traumatized, and you see the cycle of violence repeat because of that. And so one of the things that I’m most excited about in our Faith, Hope, and Love Hospital is that it will be a holistic care hospital," Smith said. "We will be not only dealing with their physical wounds, but we are offering mental, emotional, and spiritual care through this hospital as well. Currently, in all of South Sudan, there is not one licensed counselor in the entire country."
Smith encouraged others to consider taking risks in their faith journeys as well, noting that there is more beyond the mere faith-based "checklist" some might learn about and develop in church.
"I have never heard a sermon where somebody said, ‘Don’t you settle for checklist Christianity, don’t you settle for living a clean life. That’s not enough,'" she said. "God designed you to fit a unique role in His kingdom. And if you don’t do it … something drastic is missing."