Featured Speakers 2017-11-11T12:13:16+00:00

Our Featured Speakers

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

Dr. André Sims

Dr. André Sims was born in Detroit, MI and reared in Chicago, IL. He received a football scholarship to attend the University of Northern Iowa. In 1986, he transferred to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, to play ball his senior year. It was there he met Katherine, his wife of 28 years.

He turned down two professional football offers (AFL: Arena Football League) and (NFL Europe) to pursue his passion for ministry. Pastor Sims has a B.S. in Psychology, M.A.R. in Christian Education, and D. Min. in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary.

In 1993, André served as the Pastor of Outreach at Temple Church in Nashville, TN. In 1996, he became the Pastor of Christian Education at Strong Tower Bible Church in Franklin, TN. In the spring of 1997, Dr. Tony Evans offered André the opportunity to pursue the Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min.) Degree in Christian Education, while serving as Director of Evangelism and Missions at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX.

In August 2000, he and his family moved to Federal Way, WA, where André is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Christ the King Bible Fellowship. His wife, was raised in Miami, FL, and finished Liberty with a Human Ecology Degree in Retail. They have two adult children: Josiah and Janaé.

Dr. Sims is occasionally seen on TBN television hosting the local broadcast of “Praise the Lord” and nationally on “Power Connection” and “Extreme Impact.” And, Monday – Friday, he can be heard at 8:00p.m. on KGNW 820AM.

Ivan Veldhuizen

Ivan Veldhuizen has served as the Executive Director of International Ministries since January of 2012. With missionaries and ministry partnerships all around the world, Ivan’s goal is create culture of global-mindedness within Converge’s 1300+ churches. He is working towards mobilizing churches to see least- and un-reached people groups around the world come to Christ so generations alive today will see the fullfilment of the Great Commission.

Ivan also served in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for five years (1991-1996) as a field associate, bringing Dr. Graham’s vision for evangelism to 24 different countries around the world. Ivan earned a Master of Divinity from Bethel Seminary and was a Converge pastor for 25 years. His churches have demonstrated significant progress in spiritual health, community impact and world missions.

Ivan is married to Susan and has three grown children and two granddaughters. They live in Orlando, Florida.

Chris Gough

Chris is the Dir. of Church Engagement at the Mission, and has been building and networking through the Mission for more than 4 years. With ten years in pastoral work, Chris brings an ability to understand the purpose and needs of the Church while also seeing the needs of the city.

In 2013, Chris helped launch the LUTC network with a key group of leaders from around the region. His role is primarily networking and vision casting. He hopes to see local networks flourish with a thriving group in each city in the greater Seattle area and help the Church discover a unified, compassionate Body of Christ leading the way in serving and loving their cities.

Chris and his wife Rebekah have been married for 13 years and have four rambunctious kids: Simon, Levi, Josie and Zeb.

Missions Fest Seattle (MFS) is an annual church sponsored event that exists to inform and excite Christians about what God is doing around the world for the purpose of involving them in the Harvest.

OCT 19-20, 2018