Philadelphia Union will host Faith and Family night on Saturday, April 6th when the club hosts FC Dallas at Talen Energy Stadium at 7:30 pm. While the evening will feature numerous activities, one of the highlights is the postgame conversation hosted by Union defender Ray Gaddis on the impact his faith and spirituality has had on his life. When Union homegrown Mark McKenzie saw the event last season, he knew it was something he wanted to be a part of in 2019.
“I remember last year seeing Ray do it but I had to leave early that night,” McKenzie told PhiladelphiaUnion.com. “Over the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time with Ray and he’s offered me a lot of wisdom and I’ve been picking his brain. I grew up in a Christian household so when I about the opportunity, I talked with Ray about it and jumped at the chance. Anytime that I can spread my testimony and how far I’ve come thanks to God is a tremendous opportunity and I’m excited for it.”
McKenzie’s faith has guided him through numerous obstacles and led him to countless accolades. From working his way from the Union Academy to a homegrown contract, to battling for minutes on the pitch and overcoming injuries, the Bear, Delaware, native has remained steadfast in who ultimately guides him.
“This life has so many ups and downs and so many external factors that you can get caught up in it sometimes but ultimately God is in control of everything,” McKenzie said. “I wish that I could control things but at the same time having my faith in him and understanding that he is the author and finisher of my life, it takes that pressure off of my shoulders. It allows me to go out and do what I love to do everything and enjoy this life because you only get it once and that’s why I enjoy stepping on the field each day. I have to take things into my hands and apply what the spirit is guiding me.”
Saturday night the 20-year-old is not only looking forward to speaking and sharing his story or listening to the guidance of his teammate but also hearing from fans their own stories of faith and how it has changed their own lives.
“Hearing other people’s testimonies is important on the spiritual journey because anytime I can offer any type of guidance or tell my story, I may help somebody else. Also their own testimony may touch me and reach me on a spiritual level so I’m looking forward to passing on my feelings and where I’m at in my life. Ultimately, I hope that I can help and reach others.”