A former Muslim has shared how he embraced Christianity - losing his status, income, friends and family - after Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, "Follow me."
Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA shares the story of Ismail, a young Muslim man living on the West Bank. Growing up, Ismail, along with his friends, spent hours memorizing the Koran.
"Whenever we had another third part of the book memorized, there was a celebration in the mosque. That week I had just memorized two chapters about Mary and Jesus. The Koran teaches that Jesus was not crucified but Judas instead of him," he said.
Confused, Islami asked his grandfather why the Christians would still believe in Jesus as the Son of God if this really was the case.
"My grandfather was an esteemed Islamic scholar but he responded harshly. He said: 'Don't think. There is no answer. The Christians made up their story, otherwise, no one would have believed them.' To be honest, I didn't buy that. I was not satisfied with this explanation."
Determined to find the truth, Ismail began studying the Bible with his cousin: "Until then I never had met a Christian in person," he said. "But we started exchanging letters with an organization in Europe, asking them our questions. Every time we sent a letter through it would take one and a half months for an answer to arrive."
The animosity Ismail's family held towards Christians was evident from an early age; he shared with Open Doors how he grew up believing followers of Christ were the enemy.
"Some parents tell their kids stories that Christians are not human beings, or that they have tails like devils," he said. "That was the time before internet and social media, so we lived more isolated."
A few months after he began studying the Bible, one of Ismail's discussions about Christianity with his relatives was overheard by one of their neighbors. "I heard you talk about Christianity. If you'd like to know Christian people, I´ll introduce you," he said.
Ismail responded, "I want to understand why God came to earth to ride on a donkey...In my Muslim mind, it was unbelievable and unacceptable to talk that way about God."
The neighbor introduced Ismail to a group of Christian students. "They told me more about Jesus and their religion. I had tons of questions for them."
The Christian students eventually introduced Ismail to a local pastor: "I quickly told him: 'Everything you say I already know. But what I don't know is how to live with Christ.' In my head, I was still in doubt: were the Christians right, or were they crazy and delusional?"
One thing that particularly fascinated him about Christianity was the way believers speak directly to the Lord in prayer - so he decided to try it out for himself.
"When I was alone I closed my eyes and repeated those words to see what would happen. I told the Lord that I was a sinner and prayed about His love. The words were amazing, but in my heart there was still doubt. The Muslim notion of 'what you don't see doesn't exist' kept me from accepting Christ."
Suddenly, God himself intervened: "I saw a white face and heard a voice: 'Follow Me.' Nothing more. But it was enough. I made the decision to follow Him."
Following Christ, Ismail said, cost him everything - even his family.
"Being born again meant, for me, being completely alone with a lot of problems," he said. "Instantly, I was the black sheep, the worst family member they had. In our tradition, you have to respect the community, and you have to take care of the elders. Social status is everything. When you lose that, it's not easy to rebuild."
He added, "I lost all my status, all my family. I was forced to leave the house. My father told me to leave and never come back again."
Nevertheless, Ismail continues to study the Bible and share his faith with those around him.
"My faith is not something that affects just the Sunday prayer time and church visits, like it is for some Christians. For me-someone who lost his entire normal life-my faith in Christ is everything. It fills my whole existence," he said.
Like him, however, most Muslims come to faith through visions: "We don't do the work, we are just a tool," he said. "Most Muslims come to the Lord through visions and dreams, not through evangelists."
Around the world, many who have converted to Christianity claim to have been compelled to do so after dreaming of a person who they believe is Jesus Christ.
Nizar Shaheen, host of Christian program Light for the Nations, which airs in Muslim-majority regions, spoke of personally seeing Muslims turn to Christ.
"I've seen many, many Arabic-speaking people turning to Christ, accepting Him as Lord and Savior," he said, according to Catholic Online.
Shaheen said Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa and other places are turning their backs on Islam and converting to Christianity.
"It's happening all over the Arab world. It's happening in North Africa. It's happening in the Middle East. It's happening in the Gulf countries. It's happening in Europe and Canada and the United States, in the Arabic-speaking world. Everywhere, people are accepting Jesus," he said.
Earlier this year, Christian Aid Mission shared the story of a young Muslim woman who for years harbored a deep hatred of Christians. However, she converted to Christianity after Jesus appeared to her in a dream and told her to visit a local church.
"In my dream, Jesus led me to the church, telling me, "What are you still waiting for? Follow my way,'" she told the pastor after visiting his church. "And I saw all of you in there waiting for me, smiling at me. Before I met you, I saw you in my dream. Thanks be to God."