BY MICHAEL REISIG –
Don Kelley is a unique amalgam of down to earth and high tech. He’s very into living the way God and nature intended us to live, closer to the earth and its bounties, and his faith is unshakable, but at the same time he’s a master of electronics, computers, and cameras, and a professional home builder.
“Dad was a contractor and he wanted to start in a new place, away from the big city,” Kelley explained. “It was a bit of an adjustment for me, but I came to really like the new environment – a place where everyone knew everyone.
“I went to work for Maddox grocery store and stayed with them for 17 years,” he continued. “I met my wife in 2000, but it was several years later, in 2007, before we became romantically involved and married. Today we live on a farm with chickens, cows, pigs, etc., and that’s also part of my occupation. In essence, we try to live the way God would want us to – the way he laid it out before we commercialized the land. We raise our own vegetables and we are involved in aquaponics, which is a process wherein you raise fish (for food), which in the process supply nutrients to plants, which in turn thrive and supply us with nutrients and improve our air/atmosphere. It’s very satisfying to us and we try to encourage others to consider this lifestyle.
He works for and is deeply involved with The Crossing Church, and has been a social pastor for The Crossing since 2006.
“My role is basically to help our pastor’s visions and mold them into a functional process that will help our church and our community,” he explained. “I am a production manager for the various events the church has, from The Main Street Festival, which is a big success because it introduces our church and faith in general to many people in the community, to the Sunday services each week. I do all the lighting, video work, sound, and reproduction of our events. Having worked as a commercial builder, I also do most of the simple construction here, but not alone, by any means. I have a great team that assists me in making all this happen. I feel that this is why God has put me here – to do what I’m doing.
“Spiritually, I live in a place that’s very satisfying, Kelley continued. “I’m always excited to see what God has planned next for me. I was a core member of this church before it became established and I have watched it emerge in this community. It’s a strange thing – it continues to grow and flourish, regardless of what happens. It simply seems to be in God’s hands.”
Kelley added that he loves it here in Polk County and he loves what he and his wife are doing – learning to heal God’s land and living with nature, and teaching others to do that.
“We’re all about local people working together and sharing ideas – buying local and keeping products local,” he added. “I like where I am in life. I can’t see myself being anywhere else or doing anything else. This church is wonderful and the people are great. I plan to stay here and be a part of this community for as long as God allows me.”