Rev. Daniel Kleyn was born “down-under” in Tasmania, Australia on July 14, 1966. He is the second-oldest in a large family and has ten brothers and three sisters.
His parents, Nicholas and Luberdina (Ina) Kleyn, have been in the USA for about three years. This is the second immigration they’ve made. In the 1940’s, while they were children, they immigrated from the Netherlands to Australia. They now live in Grand Rapids, Michigan and are members of Grace PRC. They thoroughly enjoy being members of the PRC, living in the USA and, of course, being closer now to most of their children and grandchildren.
Rev. Kleyn moved a few times during his lifetime. As a boy, he grew up on two farms which were located in the Northwest part of Tasmania. First, he lived on a cattle farm in Lapoinya and then on a dairy farm in Natone. He and his siblings helped a lot with farm work which included regularly milking about 120 cows. Their work was often interspersed with fun or, at times, made to be fun.
As far as hobbies are concerned, they didn’t have a lot of time for them on the farm. Rev. Kleyn thinks his father wished they would consider milking cows or picking stones from the fields a hobby. Needless to say, they didn’t! When they did have time, he and his brothers fished. There were lobsters and trout in their dams and rivers. They (with their cousins) also hunted once in a while for rabbits or for wallabies (a small breed of kangaroo). They would eat what they shot. Kangaroo patties taste pretty good!
Together as a family they played a few outdoor sports such as Aussie rules football and cricket. With their large family, there were usually enough of them for a couple of teams!
Now, once in a while, Rev. Kleyn enjoys fishing either from a boat in the summer or through a hole in the ice in the winter. One other hobby he has had in the past and would like to get back into again someday is wood-working. For exercise, he enjoys bike-riding and rollerblading. He and his wife also enjoy a game of tennis once in a while.
Especially during his grade school years, Rev. Kleyn attended quite a few different schools. He attended Sister’s Creek Primary School for grades 1 through 3, and Boat Harbor Grade School for grades 4 and part of 5. Then he moved from Tasmania to Western Australia (the other side of the country) for a year and attended a grade school there. For grade 6, he moved back to Tasmania and attended Leighlands Christian School. Then he attended Burnie High School for grades 7 through 10. High school ends in Australia at grade 10.
After finishing high school, Rev. Kleyn worked for six years as an Instrument Mechanic/Technician. This involved mainly computer maintenance in a paper mill. He still enjoys fixing electronic equipment, if there’s occasion to do so.
During this time of working, he was convinced of the call to study for the ministry. He then attended Tasmania State University in Hobart for a year. Although the college was three and a half hours from where his parents lived and from the church he was a member of (The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Burnie, Tasmania), he would travel back every weekend. Half-way through that year, he and his wife, Sharon, were married. After moving to Michigan in 1990, he attended Grand Valley State University for three years.
Peer pressure was present during Rev. Kleyn’s school years, especially in the public schools which he and his brothers and sisters attended (because there were no Christian schools available). Some of this involved (as it does for the youth today) the language people used, the mocking he and his family received because they attended church, the fun people would make of their large family and the ridicule for not joining with others in the use of the world’s entertainments. It helped to find and have Christian friends at school. In this way, peer pressure could be positive because they would stick together to help and encourage each other.
There were also times when there were pressures at work for Rev Kleyn. He was sixteen when he started his apprenticeship at the paper mill. Many of the men he worked with were non-Christians and would often talk about their weekend “fun”. It was also an environment in which he had to be willing to be part of the minority who prayed before having lunch each noon. Sometimes because of this and because of the conversation that would go on, he would have lunch at his workbench instead of in the lunch room.
This all helps Rev. Kleyn appreciate (and he hopes the young people in our churches do too) the benefits of having our own schools, including our own high schools. It also points to the benefit of being able to have a job, if that’s possible, with fellow believers in Christ instead of among ungodly people. It is true that one is forced to take a stand in an ungodly environment, but it is also easy to be affected and influenced.
Rev. Kleyn married Sharon Hanko. They met in Tasmania when she came with some friends and her parents to visit the church there (The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia). They met in August of 1988, and were married in June of 1989 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They lived in Tasmania for the first year of their married life.
The Lord has been pleased not to give them children, but their marriage has been blessed in many other ways. He has given them a strong marriage in the Lord. They are very thankful for the place and work He has given them in His church and Rev. Kleyn appreciates very much the help and encouragement his wife gives him in his calling and work. They have enjoyed being able to visit almost all of our PR churches together, as well as a number of our mission fields, and to make friends and acquaintances in all these places. The Lord is always good, providing grace according to their needs and using all things for their spiritual benefit.
Even before he was a teenager, the Lord used Rev. Kleyn’s parents to encourage him to consider studying for the ministry. Various other members and ministers of the church he was a member of did the same. Some other family members would also mention it once in a while.
The late Prof. Homer Hoeksema was instrumental in helping him begin his studies. This was during the time that he was his pastor in the EPC of Burnie, which was a most enjoyable and blessed time! He began studying New Testament Greek with Prof. Hoeksema, and then attended college for one year in Tasmania, and then three years in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When they knew of his desire to enter the seminary, family members and peers gave him much encouragement and support, also financially.
Seminary days were enjoyable for Rev. Kleyn. There were many memorable events. The rigors of practice preaching certainly leave a lasting impression on his mind, but he is very thankful for the way he and his fellow students were taught to preach. He remembers well the busyness, with many late nights and many early mornings being used to finish his assignments. Indirectly this was a good preparation for the work of the ministry. They also had times of fun together as professors and students.
After graduating from seminary, Rev. Kleyn was called to Edgerton Protestant Reformed Church in Edgerton, Minnesota where he has been preaching for about five and a half years.
Rev. Kleyn very much enjoys teaching catechism. What stands out is the fact that children have such a remarkable ability, at a young age, to learn the Scriptures and the truths of God’s Word. He has even seen this in children who are not yet in catechism. An experience that stands out is that he learned the hard way that when a first grader says he needs to go to the bathroom, he needs to go!
It is very rewarding for Rev. Kleyn to witness in the work of the ministry God’s work of grace in leading the youth of the churches to spiritual maturity so that they make confession of faith, marry in the Lord and take seriously the place Christ gives them in His church.
It is also rewarding for him to observe the work of the Spirit applying the Word preached to the lives of believers so that there is evidence of a striving to live a life of thankful obedience to God. There is also evidence of the people of God having strength of faith as they face and undergo the many burdens and trials of life.
Rev. Kleyn was not, of course, directly involved in the controversies of 1924 or 1953. He has, however, thoroughly enjoyed learning about this history of our churches, especially through first-hand accounts of the splits as related by his wife’s grandfather, Rev. C. Hanko. He has grown to appreciate God’s goodness to our churches through these controversies, as well as to see the importance of being well-acquainted with our history. It is his desire that our young people do, too.
To the men who are considering the ministry of the Word to be their calling, Rev. Kleyn has this advice: “Pursue this with zeal and with much prayer, especially in light of the need we have in our churches for ministers of the gospel. It is my hope and prayer that many more of the men in our churches would give serious consideration to this calling. It is a calling that can often be difficult, and the responsibilities of it are great. But it is certainly a great blessing and privilege to be used of Christ for the proclamation of His Word of truth and salvation. And it is a calling that I believe every young man should consider to some extent. It is true that not all are called, but all should at least consider whether or not they are.”
Regarding the attitudes and behavior of our young people, Rev. Kleyn knows that we are bombarded by worldly materialism. We live in much affluence. We all, including also the youth, need to fight against being tempted and affected by materialism.
One thing it would be good to see more of among the young people is that they make the church central in their lives. They are often tempted to place many others things first, such as recreation, college, a career, a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. The church should be first, and thus such things as faithful attendance and making confession of faith.
Rev. Kleyn observes many encouraging things about our young people, such as the following: He sees their spiritual growth and maturing in the faith. He sees them defend the truths of the Reformed faith as graciously given us as churches. For example, he is aware of them defending our stand against common grace—and just recently of their speaking out (in school and/or college) against the movie, “The Passion of The Christ.” He is also encouraged to see them seeking out as friends those with whom they are one in the faith, through participating in the young people’s conventions and the young adult retreats. He knows for a fact that attending these activities often helps them in finding a godly spouse.