Meeting Mabry

January 22, 2014

ICT Ice Cream Truck

“Telling people about Jesus while I’m playing sports? That sounds awesome.”

This was Zach Mabry’s attitude when he saw the opportunity to join what God is doing at New Life and the nZone. Zach’s passion for sports began long before he found himself in Northern Virginia. He participated in football and golf in high school; in college, he played baseball. At the time, however, he never considered using that passion to serve God. “In high school, I really strayed away from Christ and didn’t let him lead me,” he says. “In college, I really grew in my faith. Through that process, I learned that I may not know what God has planned for me, and I don’t really know what the outcome is going to look like, but I know that I need to trust in Him and He will provide.”

In preparation to graduate from Cincinnati Christian University (CCU) in 2013, Zach began searching for internship opportunities. A blog on the university’s website showcased a variety of national and international internships. When he saw Tom Pounder’s blog about sports ministry, it immediately caught his eye. “It’s 100% unique. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says. While he knew very little about New Life and the nZone, he wasted no time in applying. A sports ministry sounded like it could be a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Additionally, his fiancé Monica had transferred from  CCU to Regent University in Virginia Beach; being closer to her would be an added blessing. He was eager to see if this opportunity could be the right place for him.

By March of 2013, he was trying to decide between a potential internship at the nZone and another offer from a church in Kentucky. He came to Chantilly for an interview and attended a service at New Life. From there, things began falling into place. “The whole transition was very smooth. God opened doors and everything just came together. As for other potential internships I had applied for – God just closed those doors.” Upon accepting the offer at the nZone, he began participating in a variety of areas: helping the youth ministry, running summer camps, and more. He learned a great deal though job-shadowing Travis Huff and Nicole Strohl, the General Manager and the Director of Operations at the nZone, respectively. By the end of the summer, he had gained a position as the Lead Coordinator of adult soccer leagues.

Zach and Monica

Meanwhile, Zach and Monica were making plans to be married. “We met at Bible college, which I know is really cheesy,” he laughs. While they were often far apart geographically, their relationship was centered around Christ. They still grew closer despite the distance. On November 9, 2013, they were married. “We had never planned on getting married in the middle of an internship,” says Zach. He and Monica had originally decided to wait until they were more established; however, the timing was right and God worked out the details. Through it all, he was deeply thankful to be mentored by Tom Pounder, who ended up officiating Zach and Monica’s wedding ceremony. “He was there for me for everything, spiritually, emotionally… 2013 was a crazy year, from getting an internship to getting married to my parents going through a divorce,” says Zach. “It was a very trying, stressful, exciting year.”

Zach Udvar

Eventually, the year was coming to a close, and so was the internship. Zach had been accomplishing a great deal in growing the leagues and building relationships. He was thrilled at the proposal for a new position. On January 1, 2014, Zach officially entered his new role as the Director of Sports Programming for all adult leagues. “There’s always something new coming up, from Future Famers to kids’ fitness classes,” he says. He even coaches six different flag football teams on Saturdays. He’s “dreaming big,” he says, and hopes to someday be running even more leagues – both at the nZone in Chantilly and, perhaps, at a new branch in the Gainesville/Haymarket area.

Zach’s eagerness is evident as he follows God’s leading and continues his story at the nZone. Looking back at his journey so far, he considers how God has led him faithfully every step of the way. There were many uncertainties. There was one certainty, however, that he found in the words of Jesus in John 15:5.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Zach emphasizes the importance of being grounded in Christ, especially when the outcome of his situation seemed uncertain. He knew God would provide and would continue to do so. “The opportunities here just keep growing and growing,” he says. “Honestly, I’m just along for the ride.”

Zach and Monica Canoe

— guest blogger, Emily Andrews

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