We thought we would pause in our Chronicle to send hardy congratulations to our favorite all-time best pitcher from Latin America, Mariano Rivera as he not only achieved his record breaking 600th saved game but surpassed it to total 603 saved games two days ago. He has been with the Yankees all of his professional life and we would say that Mariano is the best investment they ever made.
What really thrills us is that he embodies what an upright man can do when he places the Lord Jesus Christ before everything he does, always giving the Lord God the Glory.
In a recent article in one of the tabloids here in Panama, several people close to him were interviewed and asked if he has truly forgotten Puerto Caimito, the fishing village in Panama where he is from. His pastor and close friend from childhood , Jacinto Gonzalez, candidly stated that “a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.” So, it seems, is the case with Mariano Rivera although he has more admirers than detractors. His Pastor went on to comment:
Gonzalez: I know Mariano since before he arrived in the Major Leagues since 1994 when he was in the Triple A.
Interviewer: Did you convert him to a servant of the Lord?
Gonzalez: Yes, he made his Act of Faith andi t became my responsibility to guide him and pray for him.
Interviewer: Could you imagine Mariano having reached this moment?
Gonzalez: We have always though that something great would happen for Mariano, and to see that this is unfolding fills us with joy, as his pastor and his personal friend. We have a very close friendship and just three days ago we spoke and prayed about this together; we knew it would happen sooner or later and he expressed to me that he didn’t feel pressured by the challenge and that he would take it in the best way possible.
Interviewer: You, who know him, how would you define Mariano?
Gonzalez: I would characterize him as a very uncomplicated person; even after having achieved such great landmarks in his life, he is still the same humble man he has always been. As he confesses, he owes everything to God. Of course there is human participation, but the Lord has had much to do with this victory. Mariano is a blessed person. God has had pleasure in making him a man of renown.
Interviewer: There are many Panamanians who think that Mariano doesn’t love Panama. Why do you suppose this?
Gonzalez: That mentality that Mariano doesn’t feel Panamanian is not correct. As long as I have known him he never comes to Panama to indulge in vices or share them with anyone; on the contrary, he arrives home and he goes from his house to his church. He is not a man to be seen in parties and when he is here, in Panama, he is not known to be found in bad company portraying bad habits. I can testify to the fact that Mariano has helped this town a great deal.
Interviewer: To what would you attribute Mariano Rivera’s success?
Gonzalez: There are many people the world over who pray for Mariano, and it is to this that I attribute his success. Of the man who abides under the shadow of the Almighty it is said in scripture in the book of Deuteronomy, if we are diligent to follow the Word of God, we shall be blessed from wherever we come, whether in the field or in the city. God has been the principal promoter of Mariano and this is the key.
Interviewer: How true is it that Mariano has forgotten Puerto Caimito?
Gonzalez: I am a witness to the fact that Mariano brings a great many toys to town and we distribute them to the children in the mountains, but this is never publicized since he does not like to promote himself nor what he does; he simply goes about and does these things.
We unite, with one accord, with all those who pray for Mariano Rivera who has elevated Panama’s image in the world today and continues to behave as an upright man thereby thwarting the ways of those who would speak evil of good. (2Peter 2:2)
This story continues.