One of my heroes is a young man who lives and serves the Desire community in New Orleans, LA. In fact, when I think of what Desire Street is about, I have Oscar Brown’s face in my mind.

He was born and raised in that neighborhood, the place where Desire Street was founded. He is what we call a “second generation” leader because he was one of the kids we served back then. Now, he is one of our ministry partners, leading Desire Fellowship church with an unwavering commitment and love for his neighbors.

When I think of “O”, I can’t help but think of his jovial and loving spirit, in spite of generational and systemic poverty. His neighborhood is marked by violence, hopelessness, loneliness and isolation, and yet, because the Gospel has taken hold in his heart, he pours out to others from the wealth of riches poured into him.

Dozens of kids feel loved by Oscar, and dozens of kids have learned of God’s love for them through him. He has a gift for explaining the Bible in a way that’s profoundly simple, yet simply profound. That jovial spirit of his often brings a smile to someone’s face, even a laugh when you least expect it. Thanks to Oscar, others experience joy in the midst of struggle and pain. Together they are learning what Christ-based community means.

All of us here at Desire Street are delighted to come beside Oscar and Desire Fellowship, supporting him with shepherding and coaching and providing necessary resources for the church to survive and thrive. We are privileged to lift up this leader and his ministry in prayer, and I am honored to call him my friend.