Jaime Jorge sat in the restaurant and looked at his friend from across the table. He had an important project he wanted to talk about, and though there was no way to predict the outcome, he knew the next few minutes were crucial. He had prayed about this meeting. In fact, he was sure the Lord had orchestrated it. But now that he was here he wondered how his friend would respond.
This is God’s music ministry, he reminded himself, and that’s the reason I’m here. Jaime edged forward on his seat and waited to see what God would do.
Twenty-five years earlier Jaime Jorge had found himself backstage listening to a raucous crowd. When he’d been invited to participate in the talent competition he’d thought it was, well, a serious competition. Now he wasn’t sure. It seemed like more of a rock concert.
He just had time to glance down at his violin before his name was announced and he was thrust toward center stage. Jaime took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and started to play. That’s when it happened; that strange, wonderful, something that happened whenever he played.
The restless crowd became quiet as they were caught up in the musical mastery that is Jaime Jorge. As the music ended, the audience remained quiet for a moment, then spontaneously exploded into applause, jumped up from their seats, and yelled for more. Everything changed for Jaime in that one pivotal moment. He now knew he’d been given something extraordinary: God had given him an exceptional talent. And now that he knew, what would he do with this gift from the Lord?
Years earlier Jaime’s mother, Mayda Isabel García, recognized God’s anointing on her son. An accomplished musician and pianist in her own right, Mayda accepted the responsibility of guiding 5-year-old Jaime and planting his feet firmly where they needed to be. Through the years Mayda would say, “God has given you a gift, Jaime. And He wants you to use it for Him.” Her faithfulness at encouraging Jaime to stay focused in using his gift to further God’s kingdom has been blessed.
Jaime Jorge has performed in school auditoriums and magnificent cathedrals, in small churches and in Carnegie Hall. Few professional musicians can match his concert itinerary. Over the course of the past 10 years he has averaged at least 200 concerts each year, and since the start of his ministry has performed more than 3,000 times in 46 countries. In spite of playing in so many different countries, he has never had a problem communicating, for his violin speaks every language.
Now as Jaime watched his friend he smiled to see him lean forward, eager to hear what Jaime had to share. “Please, Lord,” he prayed, “I want Your will. If You want my friend to partner with me, help him catch the vision for this project.”
Toward the end of 2011 Jaime and his sister, May, spoke about doing something to commemorate 25 years of music ministry. They thought about a special concert that would include May on the flute, Mayda on piano, and a few other friends.
Then the idea started to grow: Why don’t we put together an orchestra, a band, and a choir, and make this even bigger? The idea continued to grow. Why not record the concert and turn it into a live concert DVD and Blu-ray?
Jaime spoke to his family and a few trusted friends. When they encouraged him, he called his friend and mentor, Sam Ocampo, and John Stoddart, a friend and producer with whom he’d previously worked. If they thought it was a good idea it would be worth pursuing.
After both men enthusiastically jumped on board, only one thing remained. Well, two, really. First, Jaime wanted confirmation this idea would be blessed by the Lord. It had to be God’s project, not his: a celebration of 25 years of God’s ministry.
The second thing? Money. Lots of it. For it to become a reality, God would have to provide the resources. Jaime placed the project before the Lord. If You want me to move forward, Lord, please let the very first potential sponsor I contact be excited about being involved.
Soon afterward, Jaime made an appointment with Beecher Hunter of Life Care Centers of America. During their meeting Jaime shared his vision for the project and watched Beecher’s face light up with excitement. It was exactly what Jaime had prayed for.
Over the next several weeks Jaime knocked on many doors. Some opened, others did not. As the Lord continued to lead, Jaime found himself in Chicago, seated across from his friend in a favorite restaurant. Roger Cary, chief operating officer of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, leaned forward as Jaime spoke about the possible concert and live DVD. Before he could even ask about sponsorship, Roger suggested it. Cancer Treatment Centers of America became the primary sponsor. Without their involvement the project would not have become a reality.
With the Lord’s blessing and funds coming in, Jaime now turned to the serious work of choosing guest artists. He wanted musicians who were dedicated to the Lord first and foremost, musicians who had a true heart for ministry and for God, musicians who demonstrated musical excellence. And he wanted diversity in music styles and arrangements. Through God’s providence the final lineup proved to be jaw dropping.
After eight months of nonstop work, Sunday night, November 25, 2012, finally arrived. While waiting backstage Jaime remembered that night 25 years earlier when he’d first recognized God’s gift to him. He’d had so much to learn: one of the most important being how to measure success. True success is measured by how effectively one shares God’s love for men and women everywhere. It’s not about the size of the audience, the grandeur of the concert hall, or any level of remuneration. I just want to talk about Jesus, he thought. He is the reason I’ve been doing this for 25 years!
When his friend Frank González announced his name, Jaime strode toward center stage.
Every seat was filled, and a sense of expectancy rippled through the crowd. God’s Spirit felt very near. In the audience sat his mother. He looked at her and his heart melted. The look of pride on his father’s face made him smile. Jaime lifted his violin and the air filled with the sound of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
Song followed song, artist followed artist, and woven between and holding it together was the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Larnelle Harris sang his classic “Were It Not for Grace”; the Oakwood University Aeolians brought the audience to its feet with “Blessed Assurance.”
The second half of the concert opened with a patriotic medley featuring John Stoddart’s masterful arrangement of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Jennifer LaMountain and Reinaldo Macías’ duet “It’s Not in Vain” was moving, and Michael Card sang “El Shaddai.”
But the most unforgettable moment came during the finale. Jaime played a stanza of “Amazing Grace”; the Aeolians joined in and sang the first verse; Michael Card joined Jaime on stage and sang the next verse; Kirk Whalum on saxophone played next; then Jennifer LaMountain and Reinaldo Macías sang a verse; Larnelle Harris continued the momentum; and everyone sang and played for the final verse. By that time, the crowd was on its feet. The song ended with a spontaneous burst of praise to God.
The concert and the evening were everything Jaime had dreamed, and then some.
In his book Crescendo (Pacific Press) Jaime speaks of that moment. “I wish I could capture and freeze what I experienced at the end of the concert that night. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. But mostly I worshipped God. At that moment I caught a glimpse, a small glimpse, of the depth and extravagance of God’s amazing grace! It is really and truly all about His amazing grace!”
“God calls and gifts each one of us,” says Jaime. “We each have a work to do to share Christ with the world, using what He has placed in our hands, for His glory. He calls us to serve Him with humility and excellence and, if we are faithful, He will bless beyond our wildest dreams.” Jaime is living proof. n
Both the DVD, Jaime Jorge Live! and the book, Crescendo, are available at Adventist Book Centers and online at AdventistBookCenter.com.