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Mariano RiveraBack in 2003, Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera retired from the game to focus on evangelical work. At the time, he told The New York Times: “I love the game, but I love God more.”

Throughout his retirement, the legendary Hall of Famer has kept on that promise. He founded Refuge of Hope Church, in New Rochelle, N.Y., and leads it alongside his wife Clara. The church believes that it is a “multicultural united body of believers committed to the revitalization of its community through acts of service and a genuine demonstration of God’s love.”

When Rivera was on the field, he was known for having Philippians 4:13 inscribed in his glove. He told The Daily Beast he played the game “to bring glory, not to Mariano Rivera, but to the Lord.” Rivera would regularly thank God for both his success and failures on the field, so it’s no surprise that he’s doing great things in the name of God even today.

Last week, Rivera spoke with the Daily Beast where they challenged his conservative beliefs, specifically about being a pro-Israel Christian.

“When it comes to Israel, as a Christian, if my Savior Jesus Christ, he’s a Jew, so how am I going to turn my back and say, ‘Oh, I won’t support Israel,’” Rivera said while talking about the article to “Fox & Friends.”

“You have the power to say whatever you want to say, but that won’t change my position, and that won’t change my belief,” Rivera further commented, angry at the publication.

Rivera says that set-backs in life are what led him to Christianity.

“Age 24, my wife got sick; my boy got sick; she got chickenpox when he was in her womb for six months,” he recalled. “The doctor told her to stay away from people with chickenpox, and that thing was infected that year. He was supposed to be born with that vertebra thing open; his head would have been growing, growing, growing, until the point that he would die. But a friend of ours took us to — we were in Tampa, and they were at a women’s conference, they took her and they prayed for her and he was healed,” Rivera explained while on “Fox & Friends”.

Rivera has consistently been a man of faith throughout the years, and thanks God for all the success he has had in life.

“It is because God, Christ, took those abilities and took it to a different level,” he said in an interview with CBN.

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