Strings of hope

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“Do you believe in God and miracles? Do you believe God can bring back people from the dead?” challenged the neighbourhood bully as he loomed menacingly over young Jaime Jorge.

At concerts, if they see me, I have failed. If they see Jesus, that’s really who they need to see.

“Yes,” Jaime managed to squeak. He glanced around quickly. There were four older boys flanking him. He was trapped.

“Well, we don’t,” the bully retorted. “Today we’re going to find out if there is a God. We’re going to kill you right now, cut you up in little pieces and throw those pieces all over the place. We’ll see if God can put you back together when we’re done with you.”

He smirked. “What do you think about that, Christian?”

Jaime gulped. He knew just how cruel these neighbourhood boys could be. He had seen them mistreat, torture and even kill defenceless animals. What would they do to him?

He was afraid. But he didn’t let the fear overcome him. Instead he bowed his head and closed his eyes. “Jesus, help me,” he prayed silently.

As Jaime opened his eyes, he felt his fear melt away. He raised his bowed head and looked directly at the bully.

“You can do whatever you want,” he said, his shaky voice getting stronger. “But God is so powerful that the moment you kill me, He can bring me back to life and put me back together. But if He doesn’t, that’s OK because Jesus is coming soon and when Jesus returns, all of His children will be resurrected and taken to heaven.”

The bullies were shocked. They had been expecting him to back down, whimper or renounce his faith.

They looked at one another and lowered their heads.

“Those boys let me go home and never bothered me again from that point on,” a now adult Jaime reminisces. “In fact, they would knock on our door and ask my mother for permission to play with them.” 

Some of us have grown up in countries where religious freedom is taken for granted. Growing up in communist Cuba, Jaime didn’t have the same luxury.

His father was an Adventist pastor and their family often experienced persecution and threats for being Christians. In school, students were expected to wear a scarf each day, signalling that they were Communists. Refusing to wear the scarves, Jaime and his younger sister Maydele were regularly singled out and harassed.

“We didn’t know that there were countries where religious freedom existed,” Jaime says frankly. “We just knew that we were in a situation where we might be called to testify for God at any time and possibly give up our lives for Jesus. Our parents taught us to be faithful to the Lord.”

He considers that childhood incident with the neighbourhood bullies to be a defining moment in his walk with God. 

“If I was willing to take a stand for God at that age, how could I not be willing to do that for Him now?” 

But it was far from being the last time that Jaime would be called to make a stand. 

From the age of five, Jaime began taking violin lessons. Although the family was poor, his mother Mayda would scavenge construction debris and create plastic flowers that she would then sell to pay for his lessons. 

When he was nine, Jaime entered a violin competition and was offered a scholarship to study at the Moscow Conservatorium of Music. It was an incredible opportunity for a little boy from a poor family. There was just one caveat—he had to renounce his faith in God. 

It must have been a tempting offer. But Jaime refused. Again, he remembered his parents’ teachings—that it was more important to obey God, rather than man. When he turned down the scholarship, he was mocked and told he would never amount to anything.

“I trusted that God had something better for me,” said Jaime.

Something better seemed in store when the Jorge family had the opportunity to move to the United States.

“The move did change me,” Jaime admits. “We went from black-and-white to colour television, I went to a store for the first time in my life, and I learned what chewing gum was. But my mother did her best to keep us grounded. She reminded us that we hadn’t come to pursue fame or fortune. We were here so that my sister and I would have an opportunity to develop our talents for God’s glory.”

If developing his talent for God’s glory meant doing music ministry, Jaime wasn’t interested. When the time came for him to choose a career, he chose to go to medical school, determined not to settle for the uncertainty and unpredictability that would come with pursuing full-time music ministry.

But God had other plans. On November 20, 2012, Jaime gave a live concert with guest artists celebrating 25 years in music ministry.

Asked whether this calling is what he expected, Jaime answers candidly.

“It’s easy to look at the finished project, CDs and concerts, and think it must be great. But people don’t see the most difficult parts—being away from home, travelling so often, not knowing where your next pay cheque is coming from. When I’m away, I call my wife, and ‘Honey, I miss you,’ is often the first thing she says.”

He also acknowledges the importance of keeping grounded and not getting swept away whilst performing on stage.

“Pride is so dangerous,” he states. “It’s what turned Lucifer into Satan. I ask God constantly to remind me that this is about Him. At concerts, if they see me, I have failed. If they see Jesus, that’s really who they need to see.”

Music ministry has opened many doors for Jaime throughout the years including the opportunity to perform for the President of the United States. But his biggest privilege is being able to share Jesus’ love.

For 16 years, Jaime has been involved in several projects to help spread the gospel in his native Cuba and other countries where it is illegal or difficult to preach the gospel publicly, but music is appreciated and welcomed.

“Some people think, ‘I’m not a preacher or an evangelist. I’m not a Doug Batchelor or a Shawn Boonstra. So what I do must not be that important.’ That’s not true,” Jaime says emphatically. 

“We can all share the love of Jesus—in our workplace, on the street, when we run into people. No matter what kind of job we do, we can all do something for the Lord.”

For those in Sydney, Jaime will be doing a special concert to fundraise for the Australasian Research Institute (ARI) on Saturday evening (July 16) at 6pm at Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church. Tickets can be booked online or purchased at the door: https://events.adventist.org.au/ew/app/registration/index.html?e=1134For upcoming performance dates, you can check out Jaime’s website: http://www.jaimejorge.com/tour-dates.