Junaid Esau began reading God’s word when he was just eight years old, when his grandmother lovingly handed him his first Bible. With the book, she gave him one simple instruction—read it. From that early age, Junaid spent countless hours with his nose in the Bible.
During his travels as a young man, Junaid encountered a Christian, ministering on the train he was riding. The man shared a message that caught Junaid’s attention: “If you believe, you will receive.” The man ministering the grace-filled message invited Junaid to visit the church he attended near Junaid’s home in South Africa. At Junaid’s new church, he was introduced to more than a broader version of the Gospel than he already understood; he was also introduced to a young woman named, Kelly-Anne. Junaid knew he had found the love of his life.
As Junaid entered his twenties he began to have an unshakable desire to visit England. Junaid attributed this desire to the leading of the Lord. “More and more I couldn’t stop thinking about England, and things really came together quickly to make it happen. I even got my driver’s license two days before leaving,” Junaid shared. Although Junaid left for the UK, almost immediately after meeting Kelly-Anne, the two continued to build their relationship via telephone and snail-mail correspondence.
On the ground in the UK, a couple from South Africa, his mother’s friends, got him plugged into a local church. There, he met Iain and Maria McDonald. The McDonalds happened to be Andrew’s ministry partners, so it wasn’t long before Iain introduced Junaid to Andrew’s teaching.
Junaid immediately began to devour Andrew’s messages; You’ve Already Got It, The Believer’s Authority and Spirit, Soul & Body. Exposure to these teachings came at a time in Junaid’s life when he was seeking and absorbing as much teaching as he could get his hands on. These messages strengthened his foundation and equipped him to stand securely in his faith in any situation.
The time spent in England had a profound effect on Junaid. Greater than the cultural effects of living in a foreign nation were the effects the Gospel had on him—it changed him. After spending two years in the UK, Junaid sensed the Lord leading him back to South Africa. Upon his return to South Africa, Junaid and Kelly-Anne continued to build their relationship. Three years later, they were married.
After they were united, Junaid shared Andrew’s teaching with his new bride. Like they had for Junaid, Andrew’s teachings revolutionized Kelly-Anne’s relationship with God. You’ve Already Got It and Christian Survival Kit rekindled her passion for the Lord, and firmly established an understanding of her identity in Christ.
It was only a short time later that Junaid and Kelly-Anne were expecting their first child. Kelly-Anne’s pregnancy ran its course beautifully; she was in good spirits, healthy and energetic throughout. However, the couple’s financial circumstances loomed in the back of Kelly-Anne’s mind, and she began to worry about how they would afford proper medical care for the baby; she didn’t want to go to a government-run hospital. Late in the pregnancy her underlying fears finally rushed to the surface as tears, and Junaid calmly assured her the Lord would provide for their needs.
Kelly-Anne’s due date had come and gone by several days before she finally went into labor. Although her pregnancy had progressed without any trouble, Kelly-Anne’s fears resurfaced at the hospital, and she panicked because of the lack of attention from the hospital staff.
After 27 hours in labor, Kelly-Anne’s body was still not ready for the delivery, but she felt it was time push anyway and called for help. After some struggle, their baby was delivered—stillborn. The extended delivery time coupled with a pair of morphine injections had left the Esau’s son limp, blue, breathless, lifeless. The delivery room staff went into a frenzy, trying to resuscitate baby Esau. As Junaid and Kelly-Anne tried to process what was happening, conflict rose in Junaid’s heart.
Faced with the scene in the hospital, he struggled to reconcile what he could see, with what he knew to be true…that God had blessed the Esaus with a son.”[Thoughts] went from a joy and a peace, to where what I saw (the nurses frantically busy with Ben) started encroaching on that—I almost felt helpless. Then, I chose the side of God, and I took my eyes off the situation, and focused on the Lord,” Junaid said.
The couple made their stand. Junaid declared that they would have a perfectly normal baby boy, and Kelly-Anne began to speak life over the baby, prophesying that he would live and not die, and calling out the things that he would accomplish one day. God’s Peace flooded the Esaus after their declaration. As the hospital staff continued to scramble, Junaid called his pastor, Andrew Lamb. After explaining the situation, Junaid asked for prayer. As Pastor Lamb brought his prayer to a close, and the two said amen, the baby’s chest rose, filling with his first breath.
Benjamin Esau was alive, but he was not out of the woods yet… Junaid was emboldened by the presence and peace of God in their situation, and he accompanied his son to the neonatal ICU.
It was his intention to protect Benjamin from any negativity that could be spoken over him. As the doctors examined Benjamin, his body behaved erratically, and his prognosis was discouraging. Because of the duration of the labor and the baby’s lack of oxygen, he was diagnosed with Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) a condition that may cause developmental delay, mental retardation, cerebral palsy or death.
When he was diagnosed, Benjamin’s test results indicated he was in a near vegetative state. As Junaid processed the information he was given, he asked the doctor to clarify that the cause of his son’s problems came from severely damaged brain cells.
The doctor affirmed Junaid’s conclusion. Then, Junaid thanked the doctor, walked over to his son and in front of the medical staff (still working feverishly to help Benjamin) put his hand on him and spoke to his son’s brain cells. Junaid commanded life, wholeness and healing into his son’s body, in Jesus’ name. Within four days, all measurable signs of the HIE and brain damage were gone.