They were among the more than 50,000 believers who flocked to see US evangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn at his Melbourne and Brisbane crusades.
Organisers estimated donations during the crusades would pay the $750,000.00 tour costs, plus produce a $400,000.00 profit.
Mr. Hinn, pastor and founder of the World Outreach Centre in Orlando, Florida, promised none of the money would leave Australia....
Mr. Hinn, now 45, established his church 15 years ago and it now has an annual turnover of about $60 million.
He has also accumulated personal wealth, with a $1 million Florida mansion with its own golf course and an $80,000.00 BMW.
During his Australian crusades, the congregation was asked for cash, cheque or credit card donations as buckets and small white envelopes were handed around. And his ministry website includes a personal appeal for donations to enable completion of the $6.5 million Benny Hinn World Media Centre in Aliso Viejo, California.
'You may feel led to give a gift of $1,500.00 or more: perhaps $5,000.00, $10,000.00 or even more. Simply respond as the Spirit leads you,' he writes.
The call for money is far more blatant than more traditional Christian churches which pass around the collection plate.
But the fundamental difference is that Mr. Hinn claims to have the power to heal the sick and dying.
The ministry has been investigated for fraud - for making unsubstantiated claims - but so far no charges have been laid....
In a rare interview, Mr. Hinn told the Sun Herald newspaper he had never cured anyone, although thousands of people had been cured by God at his meetings.
He denied money was the reason for his performance.
'I don't push for money,' he said. 'I tell people what the word of God has to say and then they give.'
'You are always going to have people thinking they are paying for a miracle, you can't stop it, but we emphasise that Jesus is the healer - I have nothing to do with it.'
And his followers agree.
But one man, who flew with his family from New Zealand for the Melbourne show, was disappointed.
Feta Tautasi reportedly hoped his father-in-law would recover from a stroke.
'We watched Benny Hinn on the TV and we expected our dad to stand up out of his wheelchair and walk, but he didn't,' Mr. Tautasi said....
Mr. Hinn, a self-styled miracle worker, recently announced plans to bring his crusades to Australia via a pay-TV channel.
But critics have branded the move as another way to take advantage of sick and dying people.
Mr. Hinn will return to Australia in May for a crusade in Sydney..."