“Profile of a Protagonist” is a recurring blog post with the goal of allowing readers to hear how fellow saints engage in the Gospel and see God’s love lived out.
Meet Simon Babba!
Tell me a little about yourself.
To tell just a little bit about myself is hard but I’ll try to keep it short. I have a Danish passport. I was born and raised in Nigeria, but my mother is from a country called the Faroe Islands (It’s hard to find on the map, but it’s there). I came the the United States in 2005 when I was 18 years old, and I attended a school in Jackson, Mississippi. I lived there for 10 years as I pursued my Bachelors and Masters degree, then got married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who is from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “Where is that Simon?” Well I’m glad you asked. There’s an awesome documentary about Muscle Shoals on Netflix, and I recommend that you watch it. Anyways, we got married, jumped on a plane and flew to New York to start a whole new life.
I am both extroverted and introverted in that I love hanging out with people, but I love being by myself as well. I love reading, watching TV shows (Battlestar Galactica is probably one of my favorites of all time), playing soccer, Haribo gummy bears, cigars, and I love Arsenal. So now you know all the things you can get me for Christmas gifts. My wife, Claire, and I love having people come over to our apartment, sharing a meal with us, playing games, and get to know people. We are passionate about turning strangers into friends, and also passionate about inviting people into our lives; even the messy parts.
How do you see God in this city?
It’s quite incredible actually, how much God is moving in this city. From the outside looking in at New York, it is sometimes hard seeing how the Lord is moving, but ever since my wife and I started living in this city, I have been able to see how present and active the Lord is. I see how both big churches and small local churches are being used to reach the unreached, heal brokenness, and release the churched for His goodness and peace.
How do you use your crafts in the city for God?
Like I mentioned earlier, my wife and I love people and love inviting them into our lives. Knowing this about ourselves, we have started using our gift of hospitality to serve the body. We both serve on the Hospitality Team on Sundays by greeting and welcoming people into our church. My wife loves to cook so she uses that passion on the hospitality team by providing food and treats on Sunday mornings for our guests. I love to meet new people and make them feel welcome, so I do that by serving on the hospitality team. Serving on the hospitality team has been such a good way for us to build a bridge for people to go from Comfort to Confrontation. We work to create a comfortable and disarming environment so that people will be more open to being confronted by the truth of God’s Word on Sundays.
How has NYC specifically impacted your walk with Christ?
Being in a city like New York, with over 8 million people, and only a handful of those people Christian has been quite interesting. I grew up in Nigeria where everybody is “religious”, meaning you are either Muslim or Christian. I then moved to the South, Mississippi to be exact, where everybody is “christian”; meaning you are either Baptist or Presbyterian. Coming to New York City after living in those two cultures has been both refreshing and challenging in my walk with the Lord. Challenging in that most people around you are not Christian and although they say they are “tolerant” and “open-minded”, what I have come to realize is that they are that way as long as you are everything else but Christian. It has been refreshing because it has given me an opportunity to get to know and seek the Lord deeper, while being in an environment that doesn’t encourage a personal relationship with the Lord.