In minor league baseball, athletes come from thousands of miles away in hopes of making it to that next level. They only have a few months to prove themselves or be sent back home… back to square one.

The Johnson City Cardinals rookie team has many fans that support them throughout the summer season. Young kids look up to the players because they’re the only baseball players in town beyond the collegiate level.

The side of the Cardinals that most fans don’t see is the athletes coming from outside the U.S.

When many people think of Latin America, soccer is the first thing that comes to mind.

For Latin American students attending college in the U.S., soccer can be a common ground – a way of finding familiarity in a new setting.

A mother and her child are waiting for their two-year checkup at East Tennessee State University’s pediatric clinic when José Zepeda and a resident pediatrician enter the room.

“How’s our little girl?” said the doctor.

¿Cómo está la niña?” said Zepeda.

Muy bien!” said the mother of the child in question.

“She is very well,” said Zepeda to the doctor, glancing at the little girl with a smile.

The mother does not speak English and the doctor does not speak Spanish, but the seemingly endless questionnaire of things like, “How many servings of fruits and vegetables does she eat per day?” goes over with ease.

“There is an art to interpreting,” said Zepeda, a certified medical interpreter at ETSU Pediatrics. “My job is to help two people who cannot communicate with each other come together and be able to care for this child. That is why I love doing this.”

Laid before him are the chalice, the paten, the sanctuary candle and a book of prayers and Bible readings called the lectionary. All are placed upon the corporal, a white linen cloth.

These are the tools that Father Jesús Guerrero-Rodriguez uses to conduct Mass for the members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Johnson City, Tennessee.

He looks up and says, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

 Members of the congregation move their hands to mark the points of the cross on their bodies and a uniform “amen” ripples through across the crowded pews.

Cruz Ortega is an ordinary guy with an extraordinary story of overcoming adversity through patience and persistence. It took him 14 years, but this year he finally obtained U.S. citizenship.

As a child, Ortega lived in a rural area of Mexico, but today he helps run a company called SPC Manufacturing in Johnson City, Tennessee. Ortega recalls what led him to the United States, where some of his family already lived.

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