Daniel Klopp serves communities globally. He address issues of social injustice, provide basic humanitarian aid, and restore hope for a better future for families and children impacted by violence and oppression.
He passionately seeks to share with others about how to be involved in education, personal development, and a safe haven for victims of trafficking, slave labor, and persecution.
The last several days have blurred into one hazy stream of moments. Whether it be named “hectic” or “chaotic”, I’ve had a scheduled filled week. Shuttling around between church groups, meetings, and appointments, Melbourne city has become a conglomerate of cement, wires, and specks of reflective glass. My father-in-law’s GPS system has become quite a familiar voice, which frequently corrects me in her monotonous exclamation to stay on the correct side of Australian roads. Far removed from my mind is the distractingly comfortable honking of the Peruvian driver.
I had just driven out of a beach community on my way into the city last Saturday night with the intention of wallowing in my exhausted state of “busy-ology”. Another seemingly endless trip to Melbourne’s east side within speed reduction limitations, carefully monitored by Victoria’s state-wide camera system was not my top priority. I wanted to break free and feel the wind in my hair, (what is left of it), and rush through the gusts of joy, which further validates my friends’ theory that driving in Peru fits my personal liking.
Completely aware that I had eroded in every possible way without being able to please everyone around me, I had given up only to Jesus to help me. It was one of those days that I was not meeting everyone’s expectations and the more I tried, the more I failed. It seemed hopeless. I wanted to just let go and allow God to cover for me. As I crept out of the valley and into the main roadway into Melbourne’s central business district, I flipped through the CD’s in the car’s glove box. Hoping that I would be forced to listen to a national talk commentary, I stumbled across one of Michael W. Smith’s worship albums. Having lived in South America for some time, I’d grown quite comfortable listening to the tunes already stacked in my player, without making much availability to newer songs. It was time for a change.
I stuck in the worship CD, canceled the lady who was telling me where to go, (GPS), and dialed the volume in the upward direction.
I entered into a time of worship while driving that rarely would be deemed “safe” by most police standards. The Lord’s presence filled the car as I barreled down the M1 toward the central business district. I felt His peace and joy washing over me with much healing. It was as if everything around me was blurred into the memories of yesterday while my mistakes and errors were lifted from me. I felt like maybe God had somehow welded a sunroof space in the top of my father-in-law’s car to scoop me out. He took me into His arms and cradled me as I felt His loving words speak into my core. I realized that within the last year, I had experienced a lot of change, and good change, mind you. However, I’ve heard from my Pastor in Lima that sometimes change comes with some pain.
Over the past year, I’ve facilitated ten staff members, directed various groups coming from other countries, and had begun projects directly benefiting the community where I serve. I’ve moved permanently to the community, along with my wife, and have had a child. The incredible load of carrying burdens of “ministry” and work had come along for the ride. In the determination to succeed, I frequently forgot to ask Jesus to carry the burden for me. He promises to do this, you see, in the Gospels, when He commands us to “come to Him, all who are weary and heaven laden.” Indeed, I was one of those.
However, by the time of my arrival into Melbourne’s east side, where I was to share with a church group about the work occurring in Peru, South America, the burdens and heavy laden”ness” was gone. Through the “healing rain” worship of Michael W. Smith, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I was free to worship Him in spirit and truth.
I had the opportunity to sit in the corner kitchen nook of an elderly man’s home the other day. I felt like I had just warped out of some Hans Christian Anderson’s writing collection of times gone by. Referred by a mutual friend, I traveled to Melbourne’s west to meet with this retired former Melbourne University professor.
Never knowing how blind appointments are going to travel, I carefully stepped into this gentleman’s home, which also reminded me of an incredibly distinctive blend of 1940’s England bleeding into an Australian year of 1964. Completely mesmerized by the awkwardly intricate details of this man’s home, I captured the relics that were strategically placed for viewing. Various items reflecting ethnic diversity from global locations bounced off the retina of my eye. Fascinating and inspiring, I stumbled behind this educated man and followed him into the kitchen. Several intentions had followed my journey across Melbourne’s CBD that morning. I wanted to connect with this man because of his access to resources. He had done a few stints with the state political system back in the early days and he knew a lot of folks that had access to my passion.
I am passionately advocating for my loved ones who live without running water, sewage, and proper education or health care. The hill that I climb everyday is a passion of opportunities for which my first is to share the message and truth of knowing Jesus Christ in a personal way. I believe that in the building and investing in relationships, others may know that I love the Christ more than anything else.
Many times, people promise to help and never do. Others promise a solution and then they fade away. In the midst of these experiences, I have been emotionally hurt. My hopes soar high when one promises me that they’ll connect with the people who can help my passion and cause, only to be crushed by the reality that they don’t choose to help.
The warm sunlight bathed the room in soothing light while lush colors of flowers made precious melodies of God’s creation outside the glass panes. I took a few nervous gulps of water in the tiny nook of this kitchen corner, as the gentleman looked deep into my soul. I started to feel uncomfortable and wondered how long I’d be here for. The date bread looked stiff and the second hand on the overhead hanging clock didn’t seem to push forward through time. I just wanted him to help me find my loved ones water and sewage. I just wanted this eerily intriguing fellow to help get a soccer field built for our Club Deportivo Dan. I didn’t want to deal with the details.
The man spoke. I listened.
I never preferred to use the word mystic in religious connotations in fear of being branded into some narrow box of stereotypical and judgmental criticisms. I was in the midst of a mystic. This gentleman spoke profound waves of spiritual Christ centered wisdom and I drank in the entire tide.
The Holy Sprit moved and I sat in the mighty presence of God as this man weaved me truths of Scripture that revealed the incredible grace of Christ. Awestruck, I fumbled with words and thoughts. This man, however old he was, had somehow swept through the barriers of generational walls into a state of practicing the presence of God and living in the present moment. He quoted various authors, of all whom I loved, and shared with me his life experience.
During the span of three months he suffered through the death of his wife and child.
“I hit the wall,” he told me. “Then I passed through it,” he went on. Occasionally as he spoke, little drops of spit showered my face and I indiscreetly tried to wipe them off, however, I didn’t care.
“After hitting the wall, and passing through after much pain, I’ve died to myself in finding Christ, and lived. Now, I live,” he waved his hands around with great joy.His peace had truly come after the pain of the wall had passed. Here I was, sitting next to a great man of wisdom that practiced the living presence of Jesus Christ in every moment, and I had come to meet this man with other intentions.
I had wanted him to help me financially.
I walked away without a dollar more than I had upon my arrival.
This man had helped me spiritually.
I walked away with more awareness and knowledge of Jesus Christ than I had upon my arrival.
Tonight, in the land down under, I thank Jesus Christ that I hit the wall years ago and now have found my “spot.” The place where I simply worship the Christ and live with a profound joy and peace that transcends all understanding is on the hill. With all of my being, I will praise His name from the hill. I will live Him until my last breath.
I have to remain out of my comfort zone and risk my life to gain it. I know that hitting the wall was the most painful experience in my life, but oh the joy and the peace has been found. I am so thankful that I left that comfort zone and risked it.
I wonder about others out there tonight. Have they hit the wall and passed to experience true peace and joy that will never end….
About eleven months ago, on the hill, a friend from Australia said to me,
“You can choose to turn your head the other way and ignore what you’ve seen but you can never say that you never knew.”
This statement, grounded in complete truth and profound wisdom has haunted my daily walk since the day it crossed upon my ears. He was speaking to the experiences he had walked through during his time in Peru. He interacted with the children, walked with them among the dirt and dust. Many times, the dust would kick up bacteria and human waste particles into his nasal passages. He watched people struggle without running water or sewage. He watched people pain from lack of food for 2-3 days a time. He saw the marginalized community for what it was, a group of people, bonded together through their lack of physical resources. He grew emotionally and spiritually from this adventure, and he traveled home, back to Australia.
Those words that he spoke to me have filled my daily routine. I believe that God moved him to speak these words to me so that I would always remember the truth. We live in a global community where more than three-fourths of our inhabitants live in physical poverty. Why don’t more people in our economical affluent circles participate in the eradication of poverty from the majority of our population?
I think they don’t really care.
I am not thinking of those people who participate in some way. They don’t have to leave the comforts of their own home and live in a food-famished land. Some may give financially while others may pray. Some people participate in sharing with others and telling the experiences of the journey among the marginalized villages and urban cities of poverty. I am thinking of those people who ignore and turn their lives the other way. I find that lifestyle disheartening. Essentially, scripture doesn’t feed through their mental pathways, and I am reminded of Jesus when he warned people of the eternal consequences of ignoring those who cry out,
Matthew 25: 33-35
“He will answer them, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me- you failed to do it to me.” Then the goats will be herded to their eternal doom, but the sheep to their eternal reward.”
Isn’t this fairly simple? We ought to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves, although, I lightly use the word less fortunate than ourselves because in many ways, I am the less fortunate one. Those whom I surround myself with have challenged me in countless forms.
Why do some people sit around in their comfortable living space, watch the tragic news of yet another flood filled home of a victim in a developing nation and say, ‘what a pity,’ and go to turn the remote to their local $120.00 a month cable television network? These people heartlessly engage their 401k while trivializing over their medium-well done piece of Angus beef, while trashing the local welfare system. They’ve never worked in the system but they feel it their responsibility to criticize the labor of others. I don’t understand the logic behind the complaints of the wealthy to minimize the effectiveness of the poor.
I don’t understand why people that I know and love come to Peru and boast of changed life. They repeatedly state incredible expressions of awareness, enlightenment, and passion to change the world while shaking the hands of our children who live on the hill. They smile at our little kids, pat them on the head, maybe even sit down to play a game of soccer with them. They take a couple of weeks out of their hard earned energy, time, and money to share some love with those whom we serve on the hill. I know they sacrifice.
They sacrifice comfortably. They only give to others when its conveniently scheduled for their agendas. These people pay their monthly bills and then tithe the 10% from the leftovers. They only come to visit when its confidentially convicting so they can wipe Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit out of their mind. Once they’ve “done their time” with us on the hill, they figure they’ve done their hard work, now back to comfortable living.
On the way to the airport, they weep and shed emotion of great remorse for leaving us on the hill. They sob out promises to return to us on the hill while wiping away tears from their dirt caked faces, leaving small tire track like lines on their cheeks. They hug me, shove $20 USD into my pocket and pat me on the back, and swig the last of their bottled water that we’ve been giving them for the past two weeks.
I’m left with their mud caked shoes and their sweated out t-shirts that still have stains from blood dried wounds after a recent game of basketball, while they clamor through customs and immigrations, turning around to wave me goodbye. One last promise to come back for another three weeks or even longer is uttered on their breath as I nod my head in agreement. They promise to send money for the soccer court I’d like to build for the kids, while others promise to begin partnering with us on a monthly basis while dashing toward the smiling pilot of their air conditioned flight to wealth and prosperity.
While I may nod my head in agreement, show my facial expressions of concernment, and verbally speak the words, “I can’t wait to see you next year,” I know within my heart, that I may never see them again. I’m innately sad, not because of my sense of loneliness being one of the few to hash it out on the hill for Jesus, but because those people leaving the hill are heading back into self inflicted sorrow of selective sacrifice. They’ve sacrificed so much for the past two weeks, giving of all, but heading back to it all. They’ve built up such cushy, fat, and extremely fitting protectors of false stability in their confined suburb of existence. The person heads back into their confined cell of conformed post modern ideology that makes them feel good while the screaming marginalized people tap at the swinging gate of their conscious. How can they block it out?
With cushions to stuff the blow of the images of yesterday.
They set their suitcases back down in the second floor of their home in the cul-de-sac and pull the shower curtains back to enjoy the steamed and refreshed scrub. While they scratch the caked poo from the hill, they unconsciously tear the memories of the hill into the drain at the bottom of the shower stall. The chartered memory traveled free of charge from Peru back over and into the home but was melted off during the shower and it trickles through the pipes into the sewage system in middle class western world. The selective sacrifice that they just ticked off their bucket list has now become an archive of digital photographs and burned .mov files for their local church.
“Don’t worry, its almost over,” they think as they rub their thumb over the stop button on their $14,532 USD hanging plasma screen’s DVD player. The pain of their selective sacrifice is nearly over and relief of coming comfort is dawning. They tuck away that emotional 3 minute review video of the trip to changed life in Peru into a DVD sleeve and push it under the storage unit where the second to last season collection of “Lost” episodes sit. As they reach for the latest episode of recorded television, the promises, words, actions, and ideas of sacrifice become selected. Essentially, they’ve been erased. Deleted. Removed. Not only have they tucked away the DVD, they’ve also tucked away their memories of us on the hill.
We have been forgotten. We are a memory of their past. As they turn their head to order their venti soy chai latte, they begin to ignore our voices of pained existence echo into oblivion. The children on the hill are still screaming for justice, deliverance, and freedom from the vicious pattern of poverty. My neighbors are still stepping outside their door, next to my window and having a bowl movement in the dirt. They have no place to wipe feces from them and use their hand. I am still fighting with local politicians to get water to my loved ones on the hill, while hoping that I’m not gunned down from behind by a local cocaine infested gang king.
The person that just deleted their selected sacrifice has proudly moved forward into thinking that the past two weeks of their life was a memory to fade away. Their promises of coming back to help me fight for world peace and equality lay just as low as the bowl movement that my neighbor laid among the rubbish. I should have never trusted them to know they would become agents of change. The way that they cried into my arms and my face, promising that they would change their lives to journey with my wife and I to spread the message and gospel of Jesus Christ made me a sucker for their words. I am left hanging on their words and promises, waiting for someone to help us on the hill, while they brush their teeth with the new and improved Brita filtered water system.
I wish I had water on the hill to even filter.
I only wish that the selective sacrifice of these people would linger and hover over them like the settling dew of evening dusk on the horizon of the sea. Their selective service has now been completed with a turn of ignorance to claim they never knew.
Thank you to those that pray, fight, love, commit, and give. I know you love Jesus and His people. Thank you for your sacrificial giving and love for those who Christ has called you to serve. You knew. You know.
For those who have turned the other way and claim you never knew, I am so sorry you did. Don’t worry, Jesus saw you turn and He knows that you knew. He knows that you know…
For all of us, I pray that we can make sacrificial changes to follow Christ with all we are, for we are no longer ours, but are His. I pray we can step out of our comfort and into His will.
I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Quote from friend in Australia
“You can turn away and choose to ignore what you have seen but you can never say that you never knew.”
Humming along at 38,000 ft. over the Pacific Ocean can become quite monotonous, especially into the eleventh hour of the journey. On Wednesday of last week, the 29th of September, I was sitting in seat 52E of Qantas' Flight #93. My wife and baby were asleep while I slumbered in between states of consciousness while staring at the forever dulling pasty cream painted emergency exit doors. The flashing images of Shrek Forever After streamed in from my personal entertainment system while flight attendants passed through the darkened aisle. Quietly nodding, I reached out for a clear plastic cup of apple juice to replenish the fluids that drained so rapidly while at altitude. As I settled back in my resting turf, my mind began to recall the countless trips that I had made across the big blue space of sky and water.
My mind retraced a few memories of countless glances out of plane windows to peer into the dark colours of night treks across the blue. Endless kilometres of reach into the blue rushed into my retinas every time I would peer out across the seemingly endless space. Memories flood quickly into my heart whenever I peer out the window of the jet. I wonder why? What is it about that space between earth and sky that causes my mind to reflect and recall the moments of the past? Certainly, I am a captive audience member to remain almost still within the plane. There is no way that I can exit and journey on my own at 38,000 feet above sea level. I can only journey within my mind.
My daughter has found her thumb on numerous occassions throughout tonight's travel. She is nearly 4 months old and finds that her thumb is better than life. My desperate attempts to rectify this crisis may involve several purchases of pacifiers. I reminded myself once again to purchase the first repeat of I only blame myself for this current love of her thumb as I was adametly against pacifiers when she was born. As I push the annoying glimmer of Shrek and his crew away from my vision, I drink the last of the drips of apple juice. Apple juice triggered my mind's course and I quickly recalled a trip of the past.
September 29, 2003, Wednesday, I had started in Singapore. I had been travelling through to Perth, Western Australia. The phone call came through to me while I was checking into my hotel in Singapore, awaiting for my next departure the following day. My father alerted me to the rapidly failing health of my mother who was in hospital, dying from cancer of the liver. She was only expected to live hours or a few days at the most. I was more than 9500 miles divided from my family and quickly gathered my belongings together for a rush to Sinapore's International airport.
Tonight, while flying with my wife and baby, I recalled that horrific flight from Singapore through Melbourne, and onward to my family. Life quickly changes even though the moments linger permanently in my mind. It was, on the same day, that I travelled back toward my dying mother. Exactly 7 years before, in 2003, I made that sorrowful journey. The memory of flying from Melbourne to Los Angeles on United flight #841 slammed into my thoughts while flying with my wife and child on Qantas flight #93. I remember calling my father and mother while on board that United flight, racking up more spent dollars with the attempts to hear my mother's voice just one more time.
Two dates in different years with one being Wednesday,September 29, 2003 and the other being Wednesday, September 29, 2010. One was 7900 plus miles of pain and sorrow while the other quest across the ocean was complete with joy and peace.
The big blue below was there to capture my tears as they flooded my face in both dates. The circumstances have changed for the reasons behind my travel. One was to race to the side of my mother before she left while todays' was to celebrate life with my wife's family. It was my daughter's first flight across the ocean, and I cherished this current experience while weeping over the memory of the past. Often times, when reflecting on my mother's legacy, I wish she was here to experience life today. I wish she could be here to listen to my daughter's laugh and to sing those precious songs. I wish that my mother was here to sing to my sister's daughter and to join in the celebration of praise to God.
The times and tides of life change as the experiences create new memories to hold while the big blue holds the same. The big blue continues to reach the east and the west as God heals the painful tears that drop into the current waves of time.