Taysir Abu Saada, Founder
The founder of Hope for Ishmael, Taysir (Tass) Abu Saada was born in the Gaza Strip in 1951. After growing weary of refugee life, his parents immigrated to Saudi Arabia where he was raised a Muslim and was taught to hate the Jews, even their very existence. After the Israeli victory over the Arabs in the 1967 war, his desire t0 return and fight to redeem the Arab pride boiled over. Without his family’s knowledge or consent, Tass traveled to Syria and joined Arafat’s PLO Fatah Forces where he was trained as a sniper and assassin to kill Jews. He later also trained Arab children to fight and kill Jews. If he found a home belonging to followers of Jesus, he would sometimes throw a grenade inside and bombard it with a barrage of machine-gun fire. He has no idea how many people were killed and wounded in such attacks.
In 1974, Tass came to the United States. He found Americans generally to be loving and caring, completely opposite of what he had been taught, so he decided to stay by marrying an American girl (Karen). He became very successful in the hotel and restaurant business and became an American citizen in 1979.
In 1993, through a supernatural encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, he became a “born again” believer. Ever since, Tass and Karen have been taking the message of Jesus back to the people he once hated and persecuted, the Jews and the Arab Christians, and to his former brethren, the Muslims.
Tass is author of Once An Arafat Man.
Farah Saada Marvil
Farah was born and raised in the Kansas City area to a multi-cultural family. As the daughter of Tass and Karen Abu Saada, that cultural diversity would lead to a personal journey toward God when she was a teenager. At the age of 15, through the love and prayers of her parents and youth pastors, Farah dedicated her life to Christ. Those same youth pastors would inspire her own desire to serve in ministry. With a passion to continue the work that God began with her father over 20 years ago, Farah strives through love and compassion, to connect with the hearts of the people she cares for. Pointing both Jews and Muslims toward the Savior and reconciliation.
She served for over seven years with Heartland Ministries as an administrator and counselor. In 2011 she began work full time with Hope for Ishmael as CFO/Director of Operations. In 2016, she succeeded her father, Tass Saada, as the CEO of Hope for Ishmael. She is credentialed as a Certified Christian Non-Profit Leader through Christian Leadership Alliance and Azusa Pacific University