Founder of Ashley Downs in Bristol, Englandby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
George Mueller once stated, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.” As a child Mueller was far from God-fearing yet he, a modern-day prodigal son, was ordained by God to become one of the greatest men of all times. God crafted him into a servant who lovingly strove to trust Him more each day and to share his immense faith with others.
The child of a Prussian excise man George Mueller was born in Kroppen Stadt, Prussia during 1805. From youth he led a wayward life. While he was four his family moved to Heimeisleben. At ten years of age Mueller schemed a way to embezzle money from the Prussian Government and began attending the Cathedral Catholic school in Halbert. Without the constraint of parents he regularly took part in drunkenness and immorality during school. Tragically when he was 14 his mother died and a year later he left school to be tutored at his home in Schoebeck. At 16 he continued in his waywardness landing in jail for failing to pay his debts.
As he grew older his father sent him to attend the Gymnasium of Nordhausen. Later he left to attend the University of Halle because his father intended for him to enter into the Church. However the university was rampant with immoral students and Mueller’s father soon gave up his intentions of having him enter the ministry. However Mueller’s Heavenly Father had not given up.
One night Mueller was invited to a prayer meeting by one of his backsliding friends. Mueller went. With a repentant heart open to the Christ and His cleansing mercy Mueller entered the family of God. Recalling it he proclaimed, “At last I saw Christ as my Savior. I believed in Him and gave myself to Him. The burden rolled off me and a great love of Christ filled my soul.” He had come to the feet of the Father.
George Mueller’s passion for Christ altered his behavior immediately. After telling his father and brother (who were not delighted) of his conversion, his father stopped funding his schooling and Mueller began to take school seriously being forced to pay for his own education.
Furthermore he began an evangelistic ministry. He distributed thousands of tracks and took time to witness to many people. Soon he had formed a Bible study in his room. Yet he was not satisfied, so he decided to become a missionary in the East Indies or among the Polish Jews. In 1828 he came across an opportunity to become a missionary with the London Society. Subsequently he left for London to master Hebrew and Chaldea. However he left the society in 1830 because he could not accept one of their rules. That same year he wed Mary Groves.
Now married, he and Mary moved to Teignmouth, England so he could pastor a church there. God was about to teach him a lesson that would impact his life forever- the lesson of faith. In order to fund his salary the congregation rented out pews in the church. But when Mueller learned of this he put an end to it deciding to trust God for all he needed, never go into debt and never save money for later. Instead he set out a basket for any donations the congregation chose to make. Two years later he departed from Teignmouth to go to Bristol and pastor Bethesda Chapel. Behind him he left the Scriptural knowledge institute, which he had helped found.
In Bristol George established what he would be known for for the rest of his life- Ashley Downs Orphanage. Starting out with only two shillings, Mueller learned to trust God for the sixty years that he ran the orphanage. Over that time Mueller made a point to never tell any one of their needs but to solely rely on God and He provided. Through the years God granted Mueller over 7,500,000 dollars, which covered their funds for employing staff, building and purchasing buildings, and feeding children.
Sadly in 1870, Mary died leaving George a widower with a daughter, Lydia. In 1871 he remarried Susannah Grace Sanger. Inspired by George Whitfield’s biography, Mueller left with Susannah to be a missionary, when he was 70. For 17 years he faithfully traveled around the world preaching in places including, America, China, India, Britain, Australia, and the continent of Europe, returning every so often to visit Ashley Downs, which was run by his staff.
Finally in 1898 he died a blessed servant of the Lord. Throughout his life God had never let him down. He was blessed with the funds to found and run Ashley Downs, which included five houses. God allowed him to establish 117 schools and train 123,000 pupils. Over the years God enabled him to pass out 275,000 Bibles. All this and more was donated without Mueller mentioning a single word to anyone but the Lord. As he neared his later years he described his faith saying, “I have never been permitted to doubt during the last sixty-nine years that my sins were forgiven, that I am a child of God, that I am beloved of God, and that I shall be finally saved; because I am enabled, by the grace of God to exercise faith upon the word of God, and I believe what God says in those passages which settle these matters.” In faith the prodigal son was lead home.
1. http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/fellowship/Mueller.answers.to prayer.html