Bristol had very poor sanitation, and soon after Muller arrived, the city was devastated by an epidemic of cholera, and many hundreds of people died. George and Henry (Craik) visited the sick people, trusting God to keep them from catching the disease.
So many people had died that there were hundreds of orphans with no-one to care for them; many were reduced to begging in the streets. George Müller wanted to do something to help, and it was this that started his life's work for God.
After George, Mary and Henry had prayed about this great need for some weeks, they shared their concern with other Christians. Müller also saw this as an opportunity to prove to the people of Bristol the reality of faith in God, who answers the prayers of those who trust him.
In December 1835, George Müller wrote in his diary, "If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained without asking any individual the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House then this would provide visible proof that God is FAITHFUL STILL and HEARS PRAYER STILL."
George Müller's diary tells the story of what happened next: (December 7) "Today I received the first shilling for the Orphan House"; (December 9) "This afternoon the first piece of furniture was given - a large wardrobe".