Mohammed finds Jesus in Mecca!

Mecca! Mohammed shivered with excitement. To think he was really here, at the heart of Islam in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the great Prophet whose name he bore—the dream of a lifetime!

Although Mohammed served as an imam (pastor) at his local mosque on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, he had never before made a pilgrimage to Mecca, as all devout Muslims must do at least once. This first hajj in May 1992 fulfilled Mohammed's commitment to the fifth and last pillar of Islam. He went full of expectation that the trip would represent the spiritual climax of his life.

On his first day in Mecca, Mohammed signed up for a bus tour of some outlying holy sites. The next morning he arrived early for one of the many regularly scheduled departures, and he sat right behind the bus driver to get a good view out the front window. He was glad the coach did not fill up and seats nearby remained empty.

The bus shifted into gear and headed down the road toward the city of Medina and the shrines they would visit. In Medina the Prophet Mohammed had established his theocratic state after fleeing a murder plot in Mecca in the year 622. With Medina more than 200 miles north of Mecca, Mohammed had plenty of time to strike up a conversation with the bus driver.

Above the drone of the engine they exchanged chit-chat, using English as a common language.

"Yes, this is my first hajj," Mohammed told the dark-haired driver whose face framed deep, penetrating eyes. "I'm from Sumatra, a Malay—one of the largest Muslim people groups in Southeast Asia."

The driver swiveled his head sideways enough to see Mohammed. "You know, you really shouldn't have spent all your money coming here."

Mohammed figured he had misunderstood. He leaned forward to catch the driver's words. "Excuse me?"

"Coming here on pilgrimage is really a waste of money," the driver repeated unmistakably. "All the rituals seeking to get into Allah's good graces—when you stop to think about it, Islam is full of hypocrisies."

Stunned, Mohammed  could only listen as the man went on to point out issues he had never considered. For over an hour they conversed as the bus rumbled on through the desert.

"The truth is," said the driver, turning to look straight at his passenger, "God wants to know you personally, as a friend, not just at a distance through rituals. Islam can't give you that kind of relationship."

With their destination approaching, the driver slowed and downshifted to park at the site. Everyone disembarked, but Mohammed's head spun with new, unthinkable thoughts. In a daze he followed the tour group, yet now everything seemed confused.

What did the driver mean? Where did he get such a perspective? How could I possibly run into a person like that in the Holy Land!

After the tour Mohammed hurried back to meet the returning bus, eager to get a seat by the driver and resume their conversation. But when he boarded, he looked up to see the face of someone new. His spirits sank.

"What happened to the earlier driver?" he asked the man behind the wheel.

He got little more than a shrug in response.

Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

Mohammed found a seat and stared out the window. During the trip back to Mecca, his heart burned with the words of the man on the morning bus. He felt he could recall the whole conversation from beginning to end.

Mohammed's hajj lasted more than a week, but the excitement and anticipation he had brought with him fizzled like air from a leaky tire. Everything he saw and did etched fresh questions and doubts into his mind. As he continued his pilgrimage, he scanned all the buses lined up at each tour site, but never saw his driver again.

Back at home, Mohammed's family wondered why he had not returned bubbling with joy from his spiritual zenith. In the solitude of his thoughts he pored over the events of his hajj. He could not forget the driver's words or his face. Yet Mohammed's spirit grappled with perplexities. If Islam is not the true faith, what is?

A few days later, Mohammed dropped by the home of a neighbor we will call A-Ching, a Chinese Christian, to borrow something. A-Ching welcomed him inside with customary Indonesian hospitality. As they chatted, Mohammed's eyes lit on something hanging from A-Ching's wall. There within a picture frame he saw the face of his bus driver from Mecca!

Mohammed gasped, pointing to the picture. "A-Ching! Do you know this man?"

"Yes, I do," came the reply. "That's Jesus. You know Him as Isa."

Mohammed sat still as a stone. Isa! The second-highest prophet in Islam—the Christians' Messiah! Could it be ...?

When he found his voice, he spoke up quietly. "I have a story to tell you, A-Ching."

His neighbor, just as shocked at the tale, listened in silence. When Mohammed finished, he began to choke up, suddenly overcome with conviction of his sin. A-Ching explained the truths Jesus had declared about His own identity and purpose.

"Mohammed, you can receive salvation as the free gift of God through Jesus Christ," A-Ching told him. "You can have a personal relationship with God."

Mohammed prayed and committed his life to Christ. When he returned home, he gathered his family and spilled out the whole account. Awed at his story and his transformation, they, too, confessed Jesus as Lord and Messiah.

A-Ching introduced Mohammed privately to the pastor of his local fellowship. Then, for their own protection, a network of believers spirited the new convert and his family to a safe house in another city where they could receive biblical teaching without risking retribution from angry Islamists.

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Mohammed's trip to Mecca indeed proved to be the turning point of his spiritual life. But he never expected supernatural revelation to come through his bus driver.

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This story has been excerpted, with permission, from Stories from the Front Lines by Jane Rumph.

Conversions in the millions: Muslims tasting the love of Jesus and embracing Christianity all over the globe

Report: Susanna Perry-Ettel

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No one can deny that over the past several years, millions of Muslims worldwide have converted to Christianity. Once they taste His love, they soon sense that real freedom can be found only in Christ.

Many missionary organizations, including Bibles for Mideast, engage in evangelism to Muslims. Out of concern for the security and safety of new converts in some regions, we cannot publish all the details. Even the converts themselves often must resort to secrecy to survive.

This concern over safety proves the greatest complication in assessing the number of Muslims converting to Christianity in Islamic nations, according to Albert W. Hickman of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

"Many of these converts keep their new faith a secret. Some of them are fairly isolated, not knowing any other Christians," he noted.

"Others are part of house churches that consist exclusively of secret converts. These individual house churches can be part of networks that are quite extensive, although most individual members might be unaware of exactly how extensive."

Violence against Christian converts is connected to the rising tide of violence against Christians in the Islamic world, according to persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA.

The website Muslim Statistics reports that “A major Christian syndication has provided video evidence to us from their user data around the world which proves that a massive 350 million Muslims live their outward lives as Muslims, on the surface, but have secretly converted to Christianity” (article here).

In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeerah satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers.

"In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity," Al Qataani warned. "Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity."

Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. "Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?" Al Qataani repeated his assertion. "Every year." The interview has since been removed from Al-Jazeerah’s website, but you can both view and read it in its entirety here

Muslim women come to pray in a church

Muslim women come to pray in a church

Thousands and thousands have turned to Christ in Bangladesh, India,  Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Maldives, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Somalia and many other Asian and African countries. Bibles for Mideast has about 150 gospel teams ministering in different Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations. Out of those, 20 are led by women, and many Muslim women convert because of these women evangelists. 

A vast number of Muslims who have turned to Christ in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan and Palestine now worship in underground house churches. We hear many miracles of healing, deliverance and even resurrections from the dead.

Some members of ruling Arabian families have come to faith in Jesus as Lord and face persecutions such as house arrest or imprisonment (see Royal Family members believe in Jesus, now face death threats and prison).

While there were only 17 Christian converts from Islam in Afghanistan in 2001, more than 250,000 believers now exist. Hundreds of baptisms happen every week.

In 1990, there were merely three known Christians in Kazakhstan and none in Uzbekistan. Now more than 250,000 worship Jesus in Kazakhstan, and 350, 000 in Uzbekistan. In 1979 there were fewer than 500 Christians in Iran. Since then, millions of Iranians have come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, most meeting in underground house churches.

In Sudan, despite a radical Islamic regime and an ongoing genocide that has killed more than 200,000, more than one million have converted since 2000, and some five million have become Christians since the early 1990s. Seminaries are being held in caves to train pastors to shepherd the huge numbers of people coming to Christ. Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening?

"People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead," a Sudanese evangelical leader reports.

One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims—including Shiites in Iran and Iraq—are having dreams and visions of Jesus, and thus are coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy from the book of Joel:

"In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:28-32)

Even though persecution against Christians in Bangladesh is on the rise, so too is the number of Muslims converting to Christianity.

“When I began my ministry in Kurigram, there was only one Christian family with a Muslim background,” says Pastor Faruk of Bangladesh, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1995. “Now, almost 1,500 believers from Muslim backgrounds are glorifying God in this area.” As many as 100,000 Muslims across Bangladesh have converted to Christianity in the last six years.

“Persecution will come more, but the believers and I are ready to face it," Pastor Faruk added.

In India, millions of Muslims are choosing to follow Christ and now face hardships and persecutions.

A large number of Muslim refugees in Europe from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan have also converted to Christianity, with some churches conducting mass baptisms.

Refugees lining up for baptism

Refugees lining up for baptism

"I've been spat on and told that I've betrayed Islam,” confessed a Syrian refugee baptized as a Christian in Germany. “But through what I've learned, I can forgive them."

"In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear of God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love," an Iranian refugee reported in Switzerland.

"I've been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it," added Shima, another Iranian refugee.

In Austria there were at least 300 applications for adult christenings in the first three months of 2016 alone, with up to 70 percent of those said to be refugees.

“Within a few years all of the Muslim nations will come to Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit,” Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, himself a former Muslim, says with conviction. “Satan knows it, that's why he tries to discourage and destroy the Christian workers and the believers through terrorism, persecution and brutal murdering. But our Lord Jesus will have the final victory.”

Since making that statement, Pastor Paul was again a victim of radical terrorists and is still recovering (those stories here: Despite persecution, more than 3000 former Muslims baptized,  Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!,  Prayer support still desperately needed for Pastor Paul and family).

Idris, another pastor with Bibles for Mideast, reports that countless ordinary Muslims, witnessing the brutal behavior of fanatics and terrorists towards Christians, are turning secretly to Christianity.

Please keep this ministry and its workers in your prayers! We so appreciate your ongoing interest and support. If you would like to submit your own prayer request or support the ministry in any way, please use the form here

Stoned by terrorists, protected by a lion!

By Pastor Paul, Director of Bibles for Mideast

My risen Lord Jesus Christ has saved my life once again, and I praise and thank God for His unspeakable grace! Certainly I am not worthy of it.

The Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church of Bibles for Mideast called for 21 days fasting and prayer from March 13 to April 2. As that drew to a close, more than 3000 former Muslims were baptized in many of our churches in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Lord enabled me to baptize many people during this time.

About three weeks ago, I was changing my wet clothes after an early-morning baptism service for one of our churches. Suddenly, militants began stoning me and our group. My head was severely injured and bloodied, and a number of others sustained injuries as well.

Believers rushed me to the nearest hospital. An examination showed serious damage to my skull, so I was transferred to a specialist hospital for immediate surgery. Authorities there, however, refused to do surgery before receiving payment. My poor believing friends somehow managed to comply.

The Islamic militants who had attacked us discovered I was undergoing treatment in that hospital, and plotted to kill me. So the believers shifted me from the hospital to Pastor Ayyoob’s house in a nearby forested area.

Pastor Ayyoob lives there with his wife, two young children and 80-year-old mother. Two believers joined us to help care for me. So the eight of us stayed there—with no internet,, electricity, pipe water, or even proper bathrooms.  For primary things we used the forest areas and a nearby river.

Believers secretly visited me at the forest home, and we would have prayer services together. I stayed there about three weeks.

Last Sunday (April 16, Easter Sunday), we were in the midst of our worship service with Pastor Ayyoob leading. Suddenly, a group of militants reached the house, armed with steel bars and other weapons. We had no idea what to do.

I still hadn’t (and have not) fully recovered from the surgery. Pastor Ayyoob’s mother is an elderly, sick woman. We also had two children below four years old with us, and a woman seven months pregnant who came for the service.

Militants had found the house by noticing the people attempting to visit me secretly and coming for prayers.

Losing all hope, we thought for sure this was our last day. The children with us started crying. We all joined hand in hands and repeatedly praised and thanked our risen Lord Jesus Christ. We also continually claimed the blood of Jesus Christ as our victory.  The pregnant woman suffered pain, but joined in our praises to the Lord.

O Lord Jesus! Praise His Holy Name. Completely unexpectedly, a lion ran from the forest, leapt towards the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded towards them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone. Equally astonishing, records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest.

Due to pressure from officials, we left the forest home yesterday.

Jesus casts Satan from Muslim girl; her healing brings her family to Christ

Zaina, a 20-year-old Muslim girl from the Middle East, had suffered heavy bleeding for three years.  She consulted a gynecologist, who ordered an ultrasonography. When the scan revealed cysts on both ovaries, the doctor advised her to get a hysterectomy. Since she is unmarried, her parents advised her against the procedure—which they would not have been able to afford anyway. They lived ordinary lives, the father working in a shopping mall.

A few weeks ago, Zaina met a woman evangelist from Bibles for Mideast. The evangelist befriended her, and soon became a regular visitor at the family home.  Zaina’s mother, sisters and brothers liked the way she presented herself, and her behavior towards them.

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The evangelist reported regularly to 'headquarters' about Zaina and her family, so all of the Bibles for Mideast gospel teams were praying for their salvation.

While the mission worker gradually and effectively conveyed the gospel of Jesus Christ to them, Zaina’s family did their best to convert her to Islam, telling her about the Koran and Hadith [sacred texts in Islam—Ed.].

One day, the evangelist arrived with two fellow evangelists after some serious prayer and fasting. They shared the story of the woman with an issue of blood which had plagued her for twelve years, and how simply coming up behind Jesus and touching the border of his garment had resulted in her healing [Matt. 9:20-22]. They told the family that Jesus Christ could and would heal Zaina if they would simply believe in Him as savior and Lord. The gospel teams of Bibles for Mideast were also fasting and praying for them that day.

Zaina’s mother could not accept what the evangelists told her. But Zaina asked them to pray for her. Her brothers and sisters remained silent, without objecting.

While the evangelists prayed over Zaina, the demon within her manifested, and she began screaming like a wild creature. She pushed the evangelists away, as the demon possessing her told them not to send it away from either Zaina’s body or the family home.

So the evangelists inquired, “Who you are and why are you here?”

“A slave from Satan," they heard in response, "taking this family to hell and destroying their generations!” 

The evangelists explained that Jesus Christ had bruised the head of Satan by His crucifixion on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection from the dead.

"Now Satan and his slaves are bound in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment of our Lord’s great day," they proclaimed with authority. "Zaina and her family belong to the Lord and to His heaven. Go away from here! We cast you out of Zaina in Jesus’ Name!"

Zaina fell to the floor, unconscious.

As the evangelists prayed over her, she came to, praising the Lord. She joyfully explained to them how Jesus had come to her and healed her. She said she gladly accepts the Lord Jesus as her personal Savior.

Her sisters and brothers followed suit, accepting the Lord Jesus into their hearts. And they ended up  convincing their mother to do the same!

Now, very secretly but joyfully, they all attend worship services in a Bibles for Mideast underground church. Please pray for them and for the ministry as a whole.

Daughter of Muslim ruler under house arrest for Christian faith

Najima (not her real name) is the daughter of a Muslim ruler. She had firmly believed in and practiced Islam from childhood—reciting the Qur'an, praying (namaz) five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan and giving alms (zakat) to the poor and needy.

While she went to a western university for her higher education, she still never missed practicing ‘the pillars Islam’.

One day she noticed a small piece of paper stuck in a crease at the table at which she was sitting. She pulled it out and read: "For God made Christ who had no sin to become sin for us, so that in Christ we could become right with God." (2 Cor 5:21).

The verse struck her. ‘How can Jesus possibly be made to be sin for us?’ she asked herself, then threw the tract into the waste paper basket. But the verse kept invading her mind. Trying to forget it, she went bed.

But as much as she tried, she couldn’t get the verse out of her thoughts, nor escape into sleep.

Suddenly, she saw and felt her room fill with light. From that light, a voice spoke.

"Daughter, you're a sinner.  There is no one righteous, absolutely none. All have messed up and fallen short. But I came to take away all of your sins. I paid the ransom for many. Believe me and accept me … and I will give you eternal life."

She knew it had to be Jesus’ voice. Undone, she knelt down and accepted him as her personal savior and Lord.

She declared her new faith to her friends first. When she told her family, her father and brothers exploded in rage. They stripped her naked, bound her to a chair, and wired it up to a metal plate to electrocute her. She asked them to at least lay a bible in her lap.

"If you want to die together with your false religion, so be it," her father replied,

"That will show that your religion is powerless," one of her brothers added

Although they had bound her, she could still touch a corner of her bible. She then noticed a strange peace, as though someone were standing beside her.

Her father and brothers pushed the plug into the socket—and nothing happened. They tried four times with various cables, but it was as though the electricity refused to flow.

Finally, her father, angry and frustrated, hit her and screamed, "You are no longer my daughter!" He then threw her out into the street, naked.

Najima ran through the neighborhood, humiliated and in pain. People looked at her, curious rather than shocked. Shaking and tearful, she finally made it to a friend’s house. Her friend let her in, clothed her and gave her shelter.

The next day, her friend asked neighbors what they had thought when they had seen a girl running naked through the streets.

"What are you talking about?" they responded. "We saw a girl running with a wonderful white dress, like an angel.  We asked ourselves why someone so beautifully clothed had to run through the streets. With that dress, she almost looked like she was flying!"

God had hidden her nakedness from their eyes, clothing her in a beautiful white dress.

She became stronger in her Christian faith. But her father learned of her location. Her mother and  brothers went to see her to convince her to come back. But she would not, and reiterated her solid faith in Jesus Christ.

Her father then went himself, and took her back to their home by force. She remains there under house arrest. Because of her change of faith, he banned all other religious movements and activities in his region.

Recently, two women missionaries of Bibles for Mideast visited Najima at her home. Wearing veils, they introduced themselves as her university classmates, and so got permission to see her. Happy to see them, she prayed with the women. She asked that children of God around the world pray for her. She also asked that we pray that her father, mother, brothers, sisters and all the Muslims of her country experience the salvation of Jesus Christ.

"The Lord Jesus Christ gave me freedom from sin and death,” she said to the missionaries. “I experience that real freedom and peace in my mind."

She concluded with, “Amen and Halleluiah!”

Jesus protects persecuted new convert from Islam by the 'power of His right hand'

Maheen* had always been an observant Muslim. When given a Bible by a team distributing them in his neighbourhood, he took one, brought it home, but never looked at it. Why should he? He had the Koran.

One night while he slept, he says an angel came to him and touched him on the shoulder.

“Read Acts 26:23 from the Holy Scripture which you received,” the angel told him. Whether a dream or a vision he wasn’t sure, but it certainly struck him as strange. Too tired to react otherwise, he fell back asleep.

A short while later, the angel touched his shoulder again, more firmly this time. “Get up and read Acts 26:23 from the bible you were given. It is a verse for you.”

Still groggy and half-asleep, Maheen had a hard time trying to process what was going on. So he decided to ignore the unusual occurrence again, and go back to sleep.

The angel appeared a third time, nudging him forcefully. “Get up and read the verses as I said!”

Maheen bolted out of bed, frantically grabbed his new bible, and began to read from the Book of Acts.

“That the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)

The striking visitation, the power of God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit brought Maheen to his knees. He acknowledged his sins before God and accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord.

He became a strong believer in Jesus Christ. As much as he tried to convince his wife Muneera* of her need for salvation, of the importance of reading and meditating on the Bible, the Word of God—she would have none of it. Further complicating the situation were the attitudes of her brother Siddhiq*, an Islamic extremist working nearby in Saudi Arabia.

Maheen desperately wanted to be baptized, but waited months, hoping and praying his wife would join him in his new faith and be baptized with him. He finally decided to take the step alone.

When Muneera told her brother of the new development, he flew in immediately from Saudi Arabia. He implored Maheen to return to Islam, offering him an outstanding employment opportunity if he’d move to Saudi Arabia. He could even have an immense home and property as part of the deal.

"My Lord Jesus is far, far above any of the offers of this world,” Maheen replied. “I may be killed, but I will never deny Jesus, for He is my Lord and Savior, and granted me eternal life."

This infuriated Siddhiq. While his sister watched in horror, he joined with others he had traveled with and brutally beat Maheen. They then locked him in a dark room. For 17 days he remained locked away in darkness, without proper food or facilities, and unable even to see his wife.

Everyone felt sure Maheen would change his mind and come back to Islam. Instead, he grew stronger in his faith with each passing day. So they decided the only way to save Muneera from her husband would be to kill him.

She couldn’t believe it. How could her own brother, her own family, including her own father, even think of killing her husband? So she implored God, the Almighty, to intervene.

While praying, she had a vision of heaven and saw the Lord Jesus seated on the throne. And there was Maheen, her husband, at His right hand being held safe, praising Him along with the angels! While she couldn’t understand it, she could see human souls being washed by blood which flowed like a beautiful stream from the heart of Jesus.

When she tried to reach out to her husband, she couldn’t even get close. A huge gulf spanned the distance between them. Then she noticed a bridge in the shape of a cross over the gap, but when she tried to go towards it, it was taken back to heaven.  

Shaken to her core, Muneera began to weep. She took her own step of faith and accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior. Who else could this be but the savior of humanity? She prayed that Maheen would not be harmed.

She then phoned the leader of the team who had been distributing the free bibles and holding the underground worship services Maheen had been attending. She explained to him all that had happened.

He explained that he too was a convert from Islam and often faced similar hardships. He arranged to visit the area, meeting up with a group of local believers first, all also converts from Islam. They prayed together, then met with a politician in the region. With his help they were able to secure the assistance of a senior police officer who freed Maheen from the dark room that had been his prison for over two weeks.

That same evening, a mob under Siddhiq’s leadership gathered with weapons to attack the church leader. A group of secret believers in Jesus heard of it and Immediately moved him to another house where the terrorists couldn’t find him. The prayers of the children of God certainly moved to save and protect Maheen as well as the Christian leader.

Maheen with bibles for distribution

Maheen with bibles for distribution

Maheen and Muneera now have two children, a boy and a girl. They work with Bibles for Mideast, distributing bibles, Christian literature and helping establishing house churches in their area of the Middle East.

“It is a great task,” they explain. “We have to work very secretly. We worship secretly. We collect bibles for distribution also in a secret way. We are in need of support, but we don’t get it.”  Both retain secular jobs to earn enough for themselves and the work of their team. Please pray for them!

If you feel led to support the work of acquiring and distributing bibles and establishing house churches for new believers, please use the form here.

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* names changed for security reasons