A Houston megachurch pastor asked his congregation to sow “faith seeds” by paying for an upgrade to his helicopter:

“My Aviation manager stated that while repairing our helicopter they discovered that if we upgrade our blades today, it will save thousands in the days to come,” Hilliard wrote. “As I pondered and looked at the situation, I heard that still small voice of the Holy Spirit say tell your special partners who have special transportation needs and their obedience will release favor for their needs and desires.”

Ah, the prosperity gospel. “Vision always attracts provisions,” this pastor, I.V. Hilliard, says, by which he means if you pay for things like his helicopter upgrade, God will give you what you want.

Does your pastor have an Aviation manager? No? Sucks to be you.

UPDATE: Speaking of flights, I was not aware of what medical flights sponsored by TV evangelist Pat Robertson into Rwanda were really about the televangelist’s diamond business, according to a new documentary film. Excerpt:

To this day, Robertson continues to solicit donations on the back of the project, on the grounds that although the farm failed, it left a legacy with a school that established a “foundation of education” in the town. 2011 posting on the Operation Blessing website described the school as “thriving”.

“Despite the turbulence over the years, the children of Dumi still gather to learn and grow in the little school house on the plateau,” it said.

Yet Mission Congo visited the Dumi school at the same time and filmed it abandoned, stripped of its desks and falling down.

Similarly, local leaders in Kamonia said that they were promised schools, roads and a hospital by Robertson’s mining company – but none of it materialised.

Robertson’s activities in Congo were initially exposed by a Virginia newspaper, the Virginian Pilot, in the 1990s. The investigation by Bill Sizemore prompted the attorney general in Virginia, where Operation Blessing is registered, to order a probe by the state’s office of consumer affairs.

Its report concluded that Robertson made “fraudulent and deceptive” statements with claims to be ferrying doctors and medical aid to Goma when he was delivering diamond-mining equipment. It accused Operation Blessing of “misrepresenting” what its flights were doing, and of saying that the airstrip at Kamonia was part of the aid operation when it was “for the benefit of ADC’s mining operation”.

It also said Robertson had falsely portrayed the Dumi farm as hugely successful when it had already failed.

“Pat Robertson made material claims, via television appeals, regarding the relief efforts. These statements are refuted by the evidence in this case,” the report said.

And did you hear the story about the patriarch’s disappearing luxury wristwatch? Oy. I wonder where my Breguet is? I know I laid it around here somewhere…