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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
ZOEgirl's Chrissy Conway
Interview and photographs by Joe Montague
Chrissy Conway of ZOEgirl sat with a young girl in Nicaragua in 2004 and as the child took Chrissy’s hands into her own dirty hands she marveled at the carefully sculptured nails. Chrissy’s life was about to be changed forever. Chrissy often tells the story at concerts during the group’s presentation of Compassion Ministries. 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.
With her heart breaking for those less fortunate, Chrissy and I recently talked about her participation in ZOEgirl’s mission trip to Quito Ecuador this past July.
“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. In discussing why she undertook her fourth mission trip in as many years the singer says, “There is a need beyond comprehension outside of our United States bubble. After seeing the need with my own eyes, I am forever changed.” She goes on to say that even the poorest people in our countries (United States and Canada) doesn’t compare to the poverty that some of the people of countries like Ecuador and Nicaragua live in.
ZOEgirl and Chrissy don’t just elevate the awareness of situations like this but they also do something about it. In addition to undertaking the mission trips, ZOEgirl as a group sponsors a little girl in Quito known as Sonia. Chrissy on her own sponsors another child in Nicaragua named Lilliam.
Every once in awhile I will come across a naysayer who is not only critical but skeptical of why artists become involved with projects such as mission trips or organizations such as Compassion Ministries. Allow me to make an editorial comment here. unless you have participated in one of these trips yourself or had an opportunity to speak directly to the individuals to find out what they did and why they did it do not assume it was about publicity. This isn’t about some politician looking for a photo op. For Alisa Girard, Chrissy Conway and Kristin Swinford there were no paparazzi. They were not on this trip to only use their musical talents but were down in the trenches with the rest of the families from the United States who gave up their time and money to help those less fortunate.
Kristin, Chrissy and Alisa ministered to people living in a city dump and distributed food to the impoverished families. In other areas of Quito they performed simple tasks such as washing and cutting children’s hair or washing the hands and feet of children who had never before had clean water to experience something so simple. The team served food in a soup kitchen and still at other times ministered to families living on the streets of Ecuador. All pretty glamorous activitiesNOT. While Chrissy did assist with hauling dirt and gravel for a church building project she did admit to not assisting with a roof repair as she joked, “I wouldn’t be good at that.”
In addition to the activities already described, ZOEgirl, along with the rest of the mission team’s members put their more creative talents to use. They performed dramas with a gospel message throughout the city of Quito including a retirement home where they rubbed lotion on the hands and feet of the elderly. ZOEgirl also gave a free concert in a city park. These efforts witnessed hundreds of people accepting Christ for the first time.
Chrissy, a mother of two young boys, says that the most valuable lessons she has learned through participating in the mission trips is, “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 a different note on December 27th 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.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.