After a brief trip in 1738, Whitefield left England the following year for an extended stay in Country. Ethiopia Map Near Savannah, he founded Bethesda Orphanage, an institution that would not only care for the material needs of parentless children but also inculcate a passion for worship. After laying the foundations of Bethesda, Whitefield spent the next two years traveling from Georgia to Maine, stopping at many points in between. Wherever Whitefield went, people gathered to listen.
Through a mixture of drama and force of will, he impressed on his listeners a desire to experience spiritual renewal. People traveled for days to hear him speak. A 1741 sermon in Boston reportedly drew a crowd of 20,000 a total greater than the city’s population. Whitefield’s relentless schedule led him to average more than ten gatherings per week, and his presence usually touched off waves of conversions and religious revivals in the surrounding area. His evangelical Calvinism impressed even the most skeptical listeners.
According to witnesses, Whitefield’s powerful voice alone free from the histrionics that would characterize later revivals could make people weep. Whitefield’s popularity helped fuel the print revolution in the Country colonies. Newspaper publishers who reprinted his sermons were rewarded with increased circulation. Whitefield further boosted print sales by writing autobiographical pamphlets, which lacked the obscure and learned allusions that often made similar works inaccessible to the general public.