Somebody Cares Tampa Bay believes in extending the gospel not only in Tampa Bay but around the world. In 2023, Daniel Bernard led a ministry meeting where he invited ICM (International Cooperative Ministry) who built churches throughout the world. They came to the meeting to share their vision. During that meeting their heart was shared and an appeal was given. A local businessman offered, if a church would adopt a church work, he would meet half the cost to build it. Several ministries took the challenge as well as Somebody Cares. Kathy went to ICM and asked if they could find a ministry that would include helping children. Since Kathy has taught in schools and has six children, her heart is for children. Egypt was decided to be the cause with a need to build a church and feeding center for children.
As the start of a beautiful partnership began, a new Church and Hope Center was built. The Awlad Mohammed Church and Hope Center’s new building is now a center of over 650 believers in attendance, in a community village of 6,000. The center is led by Sun Bahadur Tamang.
The Awlad Mohammed Church and Hope Center has become an oasis that helps meet the unique challenges of an area of Egypt that affects church growth, violence, the Muslim population, lack of trained pastors, Christian persecution, and more. By our partnership and donations, the Awlad Mohammed Church and Hope Center is taking the Word of God into the Middle East and North Africa, sharing the message of Jesus with those who have been waiting to hear.
Daniel and Kathy Bernard were pastoring in a suburban church, when Daniel had an encounter with the Holy Spirit which led him to begin to reach into the impoverished areas of Bryan, Texas. He began to preach in the projects and at local bars around Texas A&M University.They also began to go into prisons, reaching out to those coming out of jail and those with addictions. They began to bring them into their house to be discipled and lived in a nearby rental house. They began to look to the mission field and initially went to Mexico on several trips in 1986. During that time Daniel met Doug Stringer who wanted to do a City Impact Conference in College Station ,Texas. Daniel met a Nigerian by the name of Goodluck Okotie-Eboh, was in attendance and began a relationship with Daniel as he began to come out to their ministry work in Bryan, Texas.
They were worshipping in a house in the worst crime area of Bryan and Goodluck Okotie-Eboh began to help lead worship and go into the streets with Daniel and play music as Daniel preached. Eventually, Goodluck returned to his native country for a visit to see his family in Nigeria. He invited Daniel to come with him. After prayer, Daniel decided they would do a 6 week ministry conference and crusade. It was there that Daniel learned who Goodluck Okotie’s family was. They were well-known even in the history books of Nigeria. Goodluck Okotie-Eboh’s dad was the first Finance Minister of independent Nigeria Festus Okotie-Eboh.
During those 6 weeks of conferences and crusades, they saw an incredible number of people who came to the Lord, who got delivered from demonic activity, and were set free. They also saw extraordinary miracles. That caused Daniel to feel the call of God to return to Nigeria as a missionary to raise up Nigerians, who would then go to unreached people. The Bernard’s came to Nigeria in January of 1991 with their three children. Kathy was pregnant with their fourth child, Faith. Daniel began to do the ministry that he had done in Bryan, Texas and went to the streets and began preaching. Not long after, they began, they had their first convert.
Assurance reached out to Wilson Okote and invited him to come and meet with Daniel. He shared the law as a way of exposing Wilson as a sinner and Wilson thoroughly repented. He gave his life to Christ. Eventually there were seven other men who came into the discipleship program. They all lived in what was called a club that was on the river which the Okotie-Eboh family had owned. They allowed Daniel to use the building and served as a training base and a place to hold church services.
The Bernard’s encountered many difficulties in Nigeria. They were repatriated out of Nigeria due to a corrupt pastor who ultimately bribed immigration officers to illegally take Daniel and his family out of the country. During that time, Kathy contracted malaria and typhoid fever. She nearly died, but by the grace of God she survived; however, she had also become pregnant and was very frail in her physical state. The doctors sternly advised that Daniel should take Kathy back to the USA or he would lose both mother and child.
The Bernard’s once again returned to the United States only to go back to the mission field. To the amazement of both Nigerians, friends, and family there in the United States, this time the Bernard’s tried to prepare well for a long and final stay in Nigeria. They put together a 40-foot container full of goods that would help make the Bernard family more comfortable but also help the ministry to go forward. At this time, Wilson and Assurance had been trained, and they set their face to reaching the unreached Ijaw people. Daniel had invited a pastor from the outside that was referred to him by the local doctor who helped Kathy through her sickness. He was to be involved with the ministry in their absence when they returned to the United States. Unfortunately, this became a real detriment to the ministry because this individual ultimately stole the 40-foot container and all the goods that were in it.
Once again the Bernard’s had to return to the United States but went back a final time to continue to teach the disciples they were training. Wilson and Assurance had now embarked onto the villages of aja karma and abudu Buddha. Wilson began to have great success not only in seeing some young men become converts, but also becoming a very influential person to the chief. Together they began to establish the church in Adra commadriana. Assurance also had success and quickly raised up a church in the island and town called abudabudu. Wilson continued to raise up men as he was taught and through them began to establish other churches. Assurance eventually left the work to join the Assemblies of God. His work with Abudu Buddu was then, of course, turned over to Wilson to continue.
Wilson worked to establish 17 churches in the villages throughout the Ijaw area. Wilson also established a headquarter church in Nigeria. Daniel and Kathy had initially launched their ministry. Daniel invited Wilson to come to the United States. Wilson was successful in obtaining a visa and was able to come on a regular basis to the United States. Daniel introduced Wilson to several congregations, and then Daniel shared with a few pastors the vision of taking on the Ijaw work as their main focus for their missions’ efforts as a local church in the United States. Unfortunately in 2020 Wilson contracted malaria and typhoid and passed away leaving a huge void in the ministry. Praise, Wilson’s wife, took over the ministry to help it continue.
Pastor Nick Champlin, from Faith Christian Church established the Nigerian Ijaw Mission, which was a very significant addition to helping build church buildings. They also equipped the wives of the pastors to be teachers. A school was established in Sapele, Nigeria, as well as among the Ijaw people. This was significant as there was no real education going on in these very remote areas for the Ijaw people. Another church was Overflow Church with Pastor Lyn Harper. Daniel shared that same vision with him, and they, as a church, took up that vision. They have been a significant partner in the work among the Ijaw people. The Lord had actually spoken to Pastor Lyn Harper while he was in the Bible College. It was then that he was directed to learn about the Ijaw people, and though he had never done anything with the Ijaw people after that, it was a divine encounter. Since meeting Wilson, they have established a partnership where they have sent teams to visit the work, but also financially to establish the ministry. Among the pastors, they support a family and the funding of the school facility in Sapele.
There have been many others who contributed to the Nigerian work in the United States. Thomas Dozier of Exceeding Grace & Truth Ministry, First Baptist Church of College Hills and Rick Wilson of Revival Outreach Center, are ministries that have helped this work. Their continued sponsorship has helped us to reach these unreached people groups of about at least 10 million in Nigeria alone.