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.
WITH A HIGHER PURPOSE: ZOEgirl's Kristin Swinford
(left) and Chrissy Conway in concert. PICTURES:
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.
a need beyond comprehension outside of our United States
bubble. After seeing the need with my own eyes I am forever
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
“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,”
“I think that naturally for some reason teenage girls
are attracted to that.”
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
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
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.