Lua Getsinger, one of the early Bahá’ís of America, tells of an experience she had in `Akká. She had made the pilgrimage to the prison-city to see `Abdu’l-Bahá. One day He said to her that He was too busy today to call upon a friend of His who was very poor and sick. He wished Lua to go in His place. He told her to take food to the sick man and care fo him as He had been doing.
Lua learned the address and immediately went to do as `Abdu’l-Bahá had asked. She felt proud that `Abdu’l-Bahá had trusted her with some of His own work. But soon she returned to `Abdu’l-Bahá in a state of excitement. “Master,” she exclaimed, “You sent me to a very terrible place! I almost fainted from the awful smell, the dirty rooms, the degrading condition of that man and his house. I left quickly before I could catch some terrible disease.”
Sadly and sternly `Abdu’l-Bahá gazed at her. If she wanted to serve God, He told her, she would have to serve her fellow man, because in every person she should see the image and likeness of God. Then He told her to go back to the man’s house. If the house was dirty, she should clean it. If the man was dirty, she should bathe him. If he was hungry, she should feed him. He asked her not to come back until all of this was done. `Abdu’l-Bahá had done these things many times for this man, and He told Lua Getsinger that she should be able to do them once. This is how `Abdu’l-Bahá taught Lua to serve her fellow man.