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The First Sip: Celebrating 20 Years of Safe and Living Water

Water Mission Celebrates 20 Years of Safe and Living Water

In the 20 years since Water Mission’s founding, we have served more than 7 million people around the world with lasting safe water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions. It began when founders Molly and Dr. George Greene responded in faith to the Lord’s call.

In 1998, Molly and George were diligently leading General Engineering Laboratories (GEL), the environmental engineering company they had established years earlier in Charleston, South Carolina. That fall, a “thousand-year storm” decimated the country of Honduras. Hurricane Mitch unleashed torrential rains and floods that wiped away entire cities and communities, killing more than 7,000 people and leaving more than a million homeless.

As news of the devastation emerged, the Greenes followed the updates closely, worried for their friends in Honduras. Then the Lord prompted George to reach out to Bishop Leo Frade, with whom the family had spent time during a visit to Honduras. George sent an email asking how he could help. If the message reached him at all, George expected Bishop Frade might request emergency funds or prayer. But Bishop Frade replied less than 24 hours later with an urgent request for six safe water systems for devastated communities.

The Greenes’ extensive knowledge in environmental engineering placed them in a unique position to respond quickly. George searched for an existing water treatment system design that would fit the communities’ specific needs. Unable to find such a system, George and his team of engineers set out to design one.

Within days, they had created a working prototype of the very first Living Water Treatment System. Two days later, they had six water treatment systems ready to ship.

When Molly and George arrived in Honduras with the systems, they were shocked by the conditions they found. In one of the needy communities, the only available water source was a river the color of chocolate milk. It was known locally as the “Rio de Muerte” (River of Death) because many who drank the water suffered from deadly waterborne diseases.

George and Molly Greene pause for a moment with their GEL team and local volunteers in Honduras (1998).

The Greenes’ steadfast faith that the Lord brings life from death was soon to be tested. The newly built water treatment system would source water from the Rio de Muerte.

When treated water began to flow, the community remained terrified to drink water pulled from the river. Molly bravely stepped forward. Bringing the water hose to her lips, she demonstrated that the water was safe by taking the first sip. George followed. After this, members of the community came forward to drink the life-giving safe water.

Molly Greene takes the first sip of safe water in Honduras, an act of faith leading to the founding of Water Mission in 2001.

While in Honduras, Molly and George experienced the heartbreaking reality of the global water crisis. They felt the Lord calling them to further action as they learned that billions of people face the same critical need for safe water as Bishop Frade’s community.

Following God’s call, the Greenes sold their for-profit business to devote their time and resources to combating the global water crisis. In 2001, they founded Water Mission.

George and Molly Greene in front of Water Mission’s global headquarters in North Charleston, SC.

This year, Water Mission celebrates the 20-year anniversary of our official founding. Over the past two decades, the Lord has worked powerfully through Molly and George, a talented global team, and passionate partners. Through God’s power and the generosity of supporters like you, we look forward to serving millions of more people in the years to come.