After hundreds of hours of work with a small team of supporting partners, in October Annabelle Twal announced the release of her five-song album of original music, Until The End, inspired by her faith.
Music as ministry
Twal, who lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Shahade, and their three daughters, co-leads the ministry at the Jerusalem Church of the Nazarene. Originally from Switzerland, Twal moved with Shahade to support the work there in 2014.
Twal has always been involved in leading worship at the churches she has attended, including the International Church of the Nazarene in Buesingen, Germany, where Shahade served as associate pastor before they accepted the assignment in Jerusalem. She has also helped lead worship at different congregations in Jerusalem and was part of the worship team at Eurasia regional conferences.
Before she met Shahade in Switzerland, Annabelle was pursuing professional work in music. She wrote songs and performed around Switzerland, including on television and in festivals. She even competed in a televised song contest in the German language. Some of her recorded performances still exist on YouTube.
“I always wrote my own songs with a hidden message. The idea was to bring people who do not go to church closer to God through music,” she said.
But eventually, she stopped performing and competing.
“It was more and more about show than about the actual artwork or music. For me the music and the words are more important than the show. I felt more and more uncomfortable and decided to stop.”
Songs with universal themes
Annabelle focused on using her musical gift, and serving God through helping to lead worship at church. But she kept writing songs inspired by her faith journey.
Annabelle wrote the song “Until the End”, after which her album is named, a week after her grandmother passed-away at the age of 92. Just before her death, her grandmother finally gave her life to Christ.
“That’s how that song started: God never gives up until the end. He holds onto us, and He believes, and He wants us to be His children, and is willing to wait for us to come back to him until the end.”
The song, written in 2019, inspired Annabelle to take some of her music and release it for others to hear.
Out of the 10 songs Annabelle had considered for the album, she narrowed it down to five because of their universal themes.
“I chose these five songs because I feel these are songs people can relate to. Sometimes you hear a song and you think to yourself that it was written just for you. For me this is my way of preaching and sharing about God.”
Annabelle wrote the song “Sometimes“ during the first coronavirus lockdown in early 2020.
“It seemed that the whole earth stopped moving and I felt trapped. Not just in the house but also spiritually,” she said. “We couldn’t go to church, couldn’t meet friends; we didn’t see any other human for around three weeks. It was just overwhelming. Life sometimes can be overwhelming and we simply don’t have words. We want to pray, but we don’t know what. And that is OK. We don’t need words to communicate with God. One evening I started playing the piano and singing some worship songs and then God gave me these words and the melody for the song ‘Sometimes.’ God is always with us and He is reaching for our hand.”
A challenging team effort
She produced the album with others’ help. One friend contributed backup vocals, another woman played the violin, and another friend recorded everything, as well as played the bass and guitar. A young messianic believer from Tel Aviv traveled to Jerusalem to play the drums. In total, people of six different nationalities were involved; some are Christians and some do not profess faith in Christ.
Annabelle created the artwork and learned how to release the album on different platforms like iTunes.
The entire process demanded a great deal of research and asking others for advice, since it was Annabelle’s first time to produce and record an album. There were numerous challenges and hiccups, the last of which was that all the distribution platforms confused Annabelle with another artist, and slapped “Explicit” warnings on the album. It took several months of work for Annabelle to get the warning removed on every platform.
The months and months of hard work were worth it to Annabelle.