Service to Others
Source: ‘Abdu’l-Baha: Portrayals from East and West | Vignettes from the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha
JOHN DAVID BOSCH was a Swiss from Canton St. Gall who emigrated to the United States in 1879. He became a Baha’í in 1905; with his wife Louise.
In 1912 ‘Abdu’l-Baha made His journey to North America.
Before urging the Master to come West, John, unable to wait, had been East to see ‘Abdu’l-Baha, …When he heard that ‘Abdu’l-Baha was on the high seas, he went to San Francisco …[and] took the first train East, fretting because it didn’t go fast enough.
In Washington he phoned one of the believers and learned that the Master was still in New York. John left on the night train. At five-thirty the next morning he was at the Hotel Ansonia, and he went upstairs to see the door of the Master’s room.
Dr. Getsinger was there and recognized John from a photograph. John asked for an appointment and ‘Abdu’l-Baha sent word, “In a few minutes.” Then Dr. Getsinger called John in.
The Master made it quite clear that people of very different capacities were qualified to teach this Faith, each in his own way.
“Foolishly I said, “Oh, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, I came three thousand miles to see you.’ He gave a good hearty laugh … And He said, ‘I came eight thousand miles to see you.’
‘Oh, ‘Abdu’l-Baha,’ [Bosch] said, ‘I am a foreigner, born in Switzerland, and have not the command of the English language. I would love to be a speaker. All I am doing is to give away pamphlets and as many books as are printed.’
“He looked serious. He said, ‘You are doing well. I am satisfied with you. With you it is not the movements of the lips, nor the tongue. With you it is the heart that speaks. With you it is silence that speaks and radiates.
In 1927 he and Louise dedicated their northern California property to the formation of the Geyserville Baha’i Summer School which was later renamed after them as Bosch.