MUSIC: ZOEGIRL'S PASSIONATE HEART FOR MISSION

1st September, 2005

JOE MONTAGUE


Chrissy Conway, one of the trio of vocalists that makes up US Christian band ZOEgirl, sat with a young girl in Nicaragua in 2004 and as the child took Conway's hands into her own dirty hands she marveled at the carefully sculptured nails. Conway’s life was about to be changed forever.

ZOEgirl was participating on a mission trip and little girl’s hands were dirty because the village she lived in lacked the basic necessities of life such as clean water. The village people also lacked sufficient food and medical supplies.

“After seeing the poverty with my own eyes and holding these children that need so much and have so little I can no longer sit back and just wait for someone else to go help. God has given me a responsibility to do anything and everything I can to help these people,” says Conway.

MUSIC WITH A HIGHER PURPOSE: ZOEgirl's Kristin Swinford (left) and Chrissy Conway in concert. PICTURES: Joe Montague

 

“After seeing the poverty with my own eyes and holding these children that need so much and have so little I can no longer sit back and just wait for someone else to go help. God has given me a responsibility to do anything and everything I can to help these people,” says Chrissy Conway of ZOEgirl.

“There is a need beyond comprehension outside of our United States bubble. After seeing the need with my own eyes I am forever changed.”

It's a story Conway often tells at concerts during a presentation the group makes about their involvement with Compassion Ministries. Conway hasbeen on four mission trips in as many years, the most recent to Quito, the capital city of the South American nation of Ecuador, this past July.

In addition to undertaking the mission trips, ZOEgirl sponsors a little girl in Quito known as Sonia. Conway also personally sponsors another child in Nicaragua named Lilliam.

The Nashville-based band’s efforts to reach out across international boundaries is just one part of the band’s efforts to help others. Since bursting on to the music scene in 2000 with their self-titled debut, Conway along with fellow band members Alisa Girard and Kristin Swinford have also been focused on reaching out to teenage girls, addressing issues such as sexual purity, self-harm and suicide, peer pressure, eating disorders and depression.

It’s a theme reflected in the lyrics to the trio’s edgy song Scream from their latest album - Room To Breathe: “Does anybody know how I feel? Sometimes I’m numb, sometimes I’m overcome; Does anybody care what’s going on? Do I have to wear my scars like a badge on my arm for you to see me”.

Conway says that while such subjects “may not be a popular thing or what anybody wants to talk about”, she’s sure that’s why God has brought ZOEgirl together.

“I really feel like Room to Breathe is giving these girls a voice. Ultimately everyone is trying to be heard,” she says.

Girard is not shy about sharing her experiences onstage or through song and in some recent concerts has been upfront in baring her soul about the battle she fought with depression a few years ago.

“I have always just written from my heart and my own experiences, combined with being inspired by people I meet,” she says.

“I think that naturally for some reason teenage girls are attracted to that.”

A PASSION FOR YOUTH: ZOEgirl's Chrissy Conway believes that the band's music can really help to make a difference in the lives of teenagers. PICTURE: Joe Montague

 

"Self esteem is the root of why we do a lot of things," says Conway. "Why we get into drugs, why we get into parties, why we get into drinking, cutting and abuse. It all stems from the fact that we don’t really understand who we are in Christ."

Many of us have more or less grown up with ZOEgirl and even though two of the group’s members (Conway and Girard) are now step-mothers, it can be easy to forget that they are not far removed in age from the teens they sing to.

“I think the issue of wanting to be accepted is a huge issue,” says Conway.

“I would be willing to bet that most people do face that at some point in their lives. Self esteem is the root of why we do a lot of things. Why we get into drugs, why we get into parties, why we get into drinking, cutting and abuse. It all stems from the fact that we don’t really understand who we are in Christ. It was a huge issue for me in high school. I didn’t even know a Christian during my teenage years. I didn’t become a Christian until I was 18 and so I didn’t really have any perspective of who I was.”

Conway believes the band’s music can really help to make a difference with teenagers.

“I really wish there were songs like this when I was younger. Not only do I believe in it but we see it with our own eyes with the letters and kids coming up to us after concerts.”

She says that when young women have have shared their experiences in breaking off relationships that were abusive or relationships in which they were being pressured sexually by their boyfriends, they have often alluded to the music - such as the song Not the One - as being an inspiration.

Next time you see these three pretty women rockin’ onstage to songs like ‘Good Girl’ and ‘Let It Out’, don’t be fooled into thinking they only talk the talk. This threesome also walks the walk. On their recent trip to Quito all three spent time serving food in a soup kitchen, hauling gravel, washing the hands and feet of children and ministering to people living in a city dump.

Conway says that the most valuable lessons she has learned through participating in the mission trips is that God uses those who step out.

“God has given us an incredible ability to change the lives of those around us, if we would just be willing to step out in faith.”

On 27th December, ZOEgirl will be releasing ‘With All of My Heart’ - a collection of some of their greatest tunes from bygone years as well as a couple of new songs.

~ www.zoegirlonline.com


Your Say

Comment left by joanna
wow. i have been listening to ZOEgirls music since a few months before i was saved 3 years ago. Even covering a small sample of the ways their music has impacted my life in a letter i wrote to them a while back took pages. Thier music is so spot on about the things young people like me go through. i am so thankful for them.
Comment left by Kira Smelser
I love Zoegirl and when I heard this I was even more touched by what they have to say!


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