By Heidi Baumgartner, Washington Conference communication director


It was a week that started with averted eyes and ended up with Jesus' eyes.

Recently, I was one of four representatives from Washington Conference (plus two others in our national delegation) at a convention that focused on helping businesses and organizations make better decisions based on smart data. (We gained great knowledge and ideas to filter into our specific application.)

The convention location: oppressively hot and culturally excessive Las Vegas where the TBU (true but useless) statistic of the average adult seeing 5,000 marketing messages a day can quickly be over-saturated in minutes.

I remember praying as we walked to dinner for God's protection for my safety, my eyes, my ears, my nose, and my mind. The prayer was very inward focused and my eye sight was limited to about two feet in front of me.

The next evening, God prompted a new thought: How do you reach people for Jesus in an environment like this and share that there is so much more to life? (Perhaps I associate with too many pastors and evangelists! But that's OK!)

I didn't have the answer then and let it go. But God didn't let it go! Later, it was as if God was telling me: "Look at these people through My eyes. See them as people in need of a Savior instead of objects in this space. Consider the good people you've interacted with already."

So then I thought back to different convention interactions: George who feeds the homeless in his community; Todd who helps young men learn life skills and become men of honor through the scouting program; Noah who has a heart for Down's Syndrome children and supporting their families (and his); and several others who openly conversed with us about how a religious nonprofit could use smart data for decision making. Without fail, we had positive interactions with our fellow convention-goers.

God didn’t let me stop there with just the people I had directly associated with.

For the rest of the convention during my daily trek across the hotel-to-casino-to-convention floor, I found myself praying for the employees and guests that they would understand God's purpose for them, that they would find true hope and wholeness, and that they would come to understand their self-value in Jesus.

One of my favorite interactions came from a conversation with a hotel concierge named Leticia. She approached me to share dinner and attraction recommendations, and ended up in a completely different conversation about the Philippines (where she originally is from and then had moved to Las Vegas 20 years ago) and other "normal," human-to-human, non-travel related topics. At the end of the conversation, I said, "God bless you," which she received and returned. It was a great moment for both of us.

Through Jesus' eyes, I started learning how lives can be changed one at a time....beginning with mine.