August 31, 2008

Vander Well News Briefs 08-31-08

NewsbriefsThe craziness of the autumn season has hit. Kids are back in school. Church and community activities are back in full swing. Clients' summer vacations are over and everyone is back to needing their projects done. It's strange to hear football on the radio. Did we even have a summer? It's been a crazy week, and it doesn't look any better in the near future. Here's a quick snapshot:

  • Wendy has had a couple of unexpected work projects that have had her working evenings and she worked yesterday. At least they're keeping her out of trouble ;-)
  • We were  able to see Heidi, Jesse and Josh for a few minutes this week when we made a quick run to Iowa City. Unfortunately, we missed out on seeing little Sophia.
  • Taylor is still working on support. She is just over half way to having what she needs for the first part of the DTS program. She's been putting in hours and Smokey Row and the hospital as well. I think it's been strange for her not to be in school and watching all of her friends going off to college.
  • Madison is back in the swing of school and has been working at the local florist one evening a week and Saturdays. When I asked her how school was this week, the answer was "school."
  • Madison was cast as Ernestine in USP's Cheaper by the Dozen, which is one of the major roles. Her character narrates the play. I was cast in a small role as Dr. Burton. Wendy is producing.
  • I had a trip to the Twin Cities last week and will be there three days this coming week.
  • It's been a quiet Labor Day weekend for us. We both have a full day at church this morning. Wendy is directing video in all services while I play with the worship team. We're going to be in Des Moines tonight. Wendy has the finishing touches put on her new tattoo and then we're meeting our friends Kevin and Becky for some wine and conversation. Tomorrow is going to be some work around the house and then it's eirflensje (Dutch crepes) night at Grandpa and Grandma Vander Wells.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

August 07, 2008

Taylor Headed to Six Month Missions Training

Taylor_vander_wellTaylor sent this e-mail out yesterday. I thought I'd post it for those who may not have been on the list:

Dear friends, family, associates, and fans of Jesus,

There comes a time in life when high school seniors must choose the next step in life and, as many of you know, my choice was to attend the University of Iowa this fall. I was registered for classes, rooming with my best friend, and buying laundry detergent for the first time; I had everything ready to roll. After returning home from my mission trip to Romania (thank you everyone for all your prayers and support) my parents heard from my youth pastors that they had been praying, and wanted me to go to the Desperation Conference in Colorado Springs. So I headed out on the glorious twelve-hour bus drive.  It's really quite funny how just when you think you have life planned out, God shows up and says, "Just kidding!" and messes everything up (but I guess it's in a good way).  While at the conference, I had the chance to hear someone talk about YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Discipleship Training School, and immediately I felt God tugging at my heart to be a part of this team. After many restless nights, visiting Iowa City again, and lots of prayer, God made it very clear that this is what He wants me to do. God sometimes asks us to do things that require making uncomfortable adjustments, and for me, this is one of them. However, at the same time, I'm excited to watch my faith soar and let Him use me on the mission field once again.

Let me tell you how this will all play out. I'll arrive in Colorado Springs on September 11, 2008 and spend 3 months training. This school is focusing on social justice (right up my alley, huh? Remember to check out and order a t-shirt!). I'll be taking classes, involved in ministry, and community service projects. After those 3 months, I'll be sent out to do my missions outreach. I'm not sure where this will be yet, but YWAM focuses on the 10/40 window (see below). This is where half the earth's population lives, yet the percentage of Christians in these countries is very negligible.  I want to be a part of changing that.

I have to raise $3,100 by August 28.  I realize that this is only a month away, but this all happened on very short notice—God's timing, so I'm relying on God to work His magic.  Then I will have to raise another $3,700 by the end of October for the missions outreach. I know that this is a lot to ask, but any little bit helps. If you don't feel led to donate, all I ask is that you keep this in your prayers. God is doing something big and I believe that in the next ten to twenty years we are going to see our world change drastically. I want to live out my faith like time is running out, because for all I know, it could be. God commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations and I know that I am not exempt from that.
So if you feel called to do so, please support me by making a donation to YWAM.  You can write a check made out to either myself or YWAM (please be aware that donations to DTS are not tax deductible) and mail it to 607 Columbus St. Pella, IA 50219. If it is easier, you may donate online at Click on the "donate" link. Mark "DTS Outreach" and type in my full name. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call me at 641-780-8828. My line is open at all times. You can also email me at Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love you've shown me over the years.


Taylor Vander Well


August 20, 2007

Vander Well News Briefs 8-20-07

Newsbox Wow, it's been almost a week since I posted. Better get everyone caught up...

  • The lack of posts is due to being on the road on a crazy schedule. I left last Tuesday to face a day of travel to San Antonio. Spent Wednesday driving from meetings in San Antonio to Laredo and back and then back on a plane early Thursday to get home.
  • Wendy and I jumped in the car Thursday evening after I finished up some work and headed to the Lake. Summer is waning and this may be one of the last chances we have for a long weekend on the water. We had a great time with my folks, celebrating Grandma Jeanne's 70th Birthday!

  • Wendy accepted a short-term project from her old employer, Goalsetters, to update the database she had created for the business over the past ten years. The work begins immediately. No idea how long it will take. She continues to work for the group part-time, as well.
  • The girls go back to school this week (and there was much rejoicing).
  • Taylor has been making college visits, scheduling senior pictures, taking CNA classes, and still found time to get a new job at Smokey Row. We can't keep up with that girl.
  • Madison was asked to be part of a worship team for The Bridge, and new church plant in Ottumwa. She was one of few young people invited to participate and she's very excited about it. She'll be a vocalist as well as continuing as part of the high school worship team on Sunday evenings. She been enjoying hanging out with friends since her return from Costa Rica.

July 18, 2007

Madison Update

Madison_july07_lr I had a voice mail from Madison yesterday afternoon. She had arrived safely in the village where she and her team will be ministering in Costa Rica. She was emotional on the phone, but assured me that she was doing well and that God was doing amazing things in her and her team. She asked for continued prayer that she not be too homesick and that she can continue to focus on the work there. I sense that this trip is much more of a challenge for Madison, and that God is shaping her through this experience. Please pray for Madison that she becomes "mature and well-developed" and that her faith shows its true colors!

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 (TM)

April 27, 2007

Vander Well Newsbriefs April 27, 2007

Here's the latest:

  • Wendy's dad and brother, Lucas, returned home from a two-week mission to Mozambique. They were working with refugees who were homeless and without food due to intense flooding of the Zambizi River. We're anxious to hear all the details - but thanking God for their safe return.
  • Mom and Dad Vander Well are taking a trip East to visit friends in Virginia. They're planning to be back for Tulip Time before heading down to their playhouse on Lake of the Ozarks in May.
  • Taylor was just hired as a server at the restaurant at Bos Landen golf course. She has worked as a hostess at Monarch's for three years, but couldn't serve until she was 18 - so she's hoping to make some more money. Taylor will be going on a mission to Mexico with the church youth group in June.
  • Madison's plate has been full with track (which is about over), the Tulip Time play, Worship Team at church, and choir at school. She will be going to Mexico and Costa Rica on missions projects this summer.
  • Wendy and I are looking forward to a break from theatre this summer so that we can recharge our batteries and focus our time and energy on some other projects we've been putting off around the house.
  • We're also hoping to spend a lot more time at the lake this summer. Mom and Dad's neighbors down at the lake are moving - and Wendy and I bought their waverunner, so we're looking forward to giving it a good workout :)

April 17, 2007

Vander Well News Briefs 04-17-07

Tuliphouse It's been a crazy time in the Vander Well household. Spring is upon us and activity abounds. I've been working some crazy hours and spending a lot of time on the road. It seems that blogging has been shoved to the back burner for a few weeks. Let me catch you up...

  • Wendy continues to work for our group. We've had a lot of extra work and she's been doing a fantastic job. She's enjoying the flexibility of working from home and is figuring out how to set boundaries so that work doesn't completely overtake your home life. Wendy's working with her friend, Jen, on doing some fun stuff for the church women's retreat this weekend. She's also excited for her friend, Sarah's, wedding in a few weeks. With Sarah's wedding "the girls" will all be married.
  • Taylor had prom last Saturday night. She and Clayton had a great time. She looked gorgeous in the dress she wore to our wedding, and a whole group of friends had a progressive dinner (for which Wendy made the cheesecake!). Taylor was inducted into the "Thespian Society" at school last night. Wendy and I got a kick out of going to the awards banquet. She continues to think about colleges and has her ACT tests coming up. Taylor is also looking forward to her mission trip to Baja, Mexico this summer. She continues to work, on a limited basis, at Monarch's restaurant.
  • Madison is a whirlwind of activity. Besides the full academic load, she's running track, singing in the church worship team, and in USP's Tulip Time play with Wendy and me. Madison had been working at George's pizza here in town, but she cut work out of the schedule for the summer. Madison is going on two mission trips this summer to Baja, Mexico with church and to Costa Rica with Global Expeditions (support letters will be going out soon).
  • Rehearsals continue for the Tulip Time play, Tulip House [see photo]. Tulip Time is just a few weeks away. The cold weather did a number on a lot of the tulips, but there will still be plenty that make it.
  • Wendy and I are taking a break from theatre this summer (really, we mean it this time), and are looking forward to getting some projects done around the house and spending some time at the lake with Mom & Dad VW.

March 07, 2007

Vander Well News Briefs 03-07-07

Newsbox_4 Here's the latest headlines from the VWs:

  • Wendy has been working on a short-term project for our group that will last through March. She's doing a great job - and my fellow group members have commented to me how much they love both Wendy and the great job she's doing (I'm not surprised). She's still looking for a full-time job in the Pella area once this project is completed.
  • Taylor and Madison surprised us when they both decided to go out for the high school track team. Taylor is running middle distance and Madison is a sprinter. I never woulda thunk it. You go, girls.
  • Taylor is also finishing up work on the Mock Trial team, and is in individual Speech Contests today. Her work at Monarch's Restaurant has slowed down - she's applying for a job at the local coffee shop, Smokey Row. She spoke at a TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) weekend a few weeks ago - and is planning on a mission trip to Mexico with our church this summer.
  • Madison's show choir had a big concert a couple of weeks ago - she did a fabulous job. She's also using her angelic voice on the youth worship team at church. She's been working one night a week at George's Pizza, and is very involved with her church small group. She has two mission trips planned this summer (Mexico with church & Costa Rica with Global Expeditions).
  • We were really disappointed when the snow/ice storm forced us to cancel the final performance of Morning's at Seven that I directed for Union Street Players, but we were able to schedule an encore performance this Friday night - hooray!
  • Auditions for the next USP show, Tulip House, which will be produced during Pella's Tulip Time were held this past week. It's possible that Wendy, Madison and I could all be on stage together, which would be really fun. The cast hasn't been announced. We'll keep you posted!

January 13, 2007

Vander Well News Briefs 1-13-07

Diningroomlr Well, we made it through the holidays and 2007 is in full swing. Here's the latest:

  • Wendy painted the dining room this week (see photo). As you can see, it made a huge change but we absolutely love it. The hallways are next (a light beige).
  • Taylor and Madison survived semester tests this past week.
  • Taylor is still getting back to normal after her mission trip to Panama. She's already signed up for a mission to Romania this summer with Global Expeditions.
  • Speaking of missions, Madison is headed to Mexico (with our church) and Costa Rica (with Global Expeditions) next summer.
  • Both girls are now in the restaurant biz. Madison has been enjoying her new job at George's as server and hostess. Taylor has now been a hostess at Monarch's for a couple years.
  • I have been battling a nasty cold for the past week. First time I've had a cold like this in a long time. The rest of the family has thankfully been successful at avoiding it.
  • I was able to avoid the road for much of the past few months, but I've got my travelin' shoes on once again. Twin Cities this past week. Montana and Wyoming next week. A visit to San Antonio is imminent in the coming weeks.
  • No word on a job for Wendy. She's still praying and looking.
  • I'm directing USP's next show, Morning's at Seven. Rehearsals started this past week. Performances are scheduled for the last weekend of February.

December 04, 2006

Vander Well News Briefs - 12/04/06

  • Newsbox_3 The Christmas Post is a bona fide hit! We had a great opening weekend, with attendance growing with each show. Sunday afternoon matinees is usually a small crowd and there were people lined up down the hallway of the Pella Community Center to buy tickets at the door! The place was packed. It's a nice pay-off for all the time and energy Wendy has put into the show!!
  • Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Madison. She's made steady progress since the doctor changed her anti-biotic last week. She returned to school this morning. Praise God!
  • It was great to have family and friends come down for the show this weekend. We didn't get to spend as much time with everyone was we would have liked, but with Christmas around the corner we'll have that chance in a few weeks.
  • Wendy has been keeping so busy with the show that she hasn't had much time to think about her job situation. She's looking forward to a few more weeks of rest before she begins to think about what God has in store for her employment-wise.
  • Taylor is getting excited about her mission trip to Panama. She leaves December 27! She's raised enough money for the base expenses. She just has a few hundred dollars left to pay for her plane ticket.

September 25, 2006

Vander Well New Briefs Sep 25

Newsies_1Extra! Extra! Here's the latest skinny:

  • On a sad note, Grandpa and Grandma Vander Well are closing up the playhouse on Lake of the Ozarks this week. Grandma said Tim was going to be there this past weekend for one last visit before the folks shut 'er up and head back to Des Moines.
  • Speaking of Tim, he's got his own apartment in Lawrence, Kansas. He'll be working on a project in Topeka for another year or so. He found the social life a bit more to his liking in Lawrence, and found an apartment where he can set up a shop and work on his guitars.
  • We had a great time Saturday in Iowa City with Wendy's siblings. We joined Becky and Josh at Jesse and Heidi's apartment. What a blast. We hadn't seen Jesse and Heidi since the Wedding, so it was great to all get together. Unfortunately, we forgot our camera!
  • Becky was inbetween work contracts but plans to head back for another stint in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. She still plans to sail as a nurse on Mercy Ships, but the ship is still under construction and so the mission trip is on hold for now.
  • Taylor and Madison had all the Homecoming festivities this past weekend. Sounds like all went well. Pella won the football game and the dance was a success - though Taylor looked particularly dead at play rehearsal Saturday morning.
  • Taylor is waiting for her confirmation packet from Global Expeditions so she can start sending out support letters for her mission trip to Costa Rica this Christmas.
  • Play rehearsals continue for The Christmas Post (plan now to attend Nov 30, Dec 1,2,3,7, or 8). Wendy's doing a great job and the cast is wonderful. Wendy has been pleasantly surprised at how quickly the cast is picking up the music and choreography.