Some missionaries go to Africa, others to South America, and others to various parts of Asia. For James DeLaney his mission field is wherever Delta Airlines is going.
DeLaney always had the desire to become a missionary, but never felt called to any one particular country. But five years ago while he was checking his email he received a notice of weekly specials from Delta Airlines informing him that he could fly from Atlanta to London for only $350 round trip. Without hesitation he purchased the flight, and thus he entered his "mission field."
"Since that day five years ago I've flown every week, sometimes multiple times." Said DeLaney. "Once we're airborne and at our cruising altitude I try to strike up a conversation with the person in the seat next to me which will hopefully lead to an opportunity to share the gospel. Some people are very receptive, while others are resistant. But I never stop trying."
On average DeLaney flies a total of 25,000 miles per month, which usually includes at least one international flight, sometimes two.
"Whatever is on sale with Delta is what I fly." He said. "Last week I flew to Prague on a great deal. Next week I'm off to Johannesburg, South Africa. That flight is great. We fly almost 20 hours. During that long of a flight people are really eager to talk, even if they do think I'm a 'religious nut.' What's really great though is if we have some rough turbulence. Now that's when I can really get a hold on some nervous passenger and say 'Do you know where you'd go if this plane crashed right now?'"
Ever since beginning his work on the 'mission field' five years ago DeLaney has shared his vision with churches around the country, and has managed to raise enough support to keep him airborne almost year-round.
"I've got churches all over the United States supporting me." He said. "I take my flights and then rest for a few days wherever I am, and take in a couple of sights. Then I'm back in the friendly skies. I usually try to fly first or business class when I can, because those people need the gospel too."
Despite the grueling pace of his work, DeLaney says that he has no plans to slow down.
"There is such a great need out there." Said DeLaney. "The Altlanta-Paris flight is one of the toughest to get to know people on. I'm planning on focusing on that route next year at least once a month, flying business class, of course. Those rich Parisians are so hard-hearted to the gospel, and I feel it is my calling to press them hard."