Tag Archives: Tom Vanderwell

The Wayfarer Podcast Now on Your Favorite App!

The Wayfarer podcast is hosted by Anchor and is available on multiple podcasting platforms. You can use the links below to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast service(s). Just click on the logo!

Anchor Podcasts


Apple Podcasts

Overcast Podcasts





Great Opportunity to Help Haitian Orphans on Black Friday!

Tom Vander Well and Tom Vanderwell
Tom Vander Well and Tom Vanderwell

Note to the reader – Tom Vanderwell and Tom Vander Well met online when, as bloggers, they started seeing each other’s name show up on the web. Since then, they have met once and continue to be friends and keep in touch online. To the best of their knowledge (meaning as far back as they can trace their roots), they are not related.

Tom Vanderwell (the guest blogger today) lives in Michigan and from there works for God’s Littlest Angels, an orphanage outside of Port Au Prince Haiti that typically cares for 120 to 160 children. Tom’s role is raising awareness and the associated support that helps them do what they do. You can read more of what he does at God’s Littlest Angels.

Friday, November 29, the day after Thanksgiving, has taken on a life of its own. It’s known as Black Friday – and is the busiest day of the year for retail shopping. Well, this year, you have the opportunity to make Black Friday not only about buying gifts for your loved ones but also an opportunity to help kids in Haiti who don’t have a family.

Family Christian Stores is donating 100% of their profits from both in store and online sales from November 29 through December 1 to God’s Littlest Angels. Their goal is, in 3 days, to raise $500,000 so that we can get a LOT farther on building our new facilities and provide the kids with a better living environment while they are waiting for their families. (Note to local Iowa readers, there are two Des Moines area locations for Family Christian Stores: Ankeny and Jordan Creek WDM -TVW)

Will you do me two favors?

  1. Watch the video at the bottom of this blog post – Karen Kingsbury says it a LOT better than I ever could.

  2. Mark it on your calendar for some time during those three days – November 29 through December 1 to go to Family Christian and either make a donation (they’ll match your donation dollar for dollar) or buy something to support the orphans in Haiti.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and watch the video.

On behalf of the kids at God’s Littlest Angels, thank you for your efforts during the three day challenge,

Tom Vanderwell (the OTHER one)

Tom Vander Well, meet Tom Vanderwell

Tom Vander Well and Tom Vanderwell

When I started blogging many years ago, I learned to set up Google alerts which would notify me if anyone mentioned my name on the web. Since people regularly spell my name incorrectly, I set up alerts for both “Tom Vander Well” and “Tom Vanderwell.” So it was that I learned of the existence of my name’s doppleganger, Tom Vanderwell, who was blogging on the subject of mortgage banking at the time.

It did not take long for Tom and me to make connection and over the years we’ve chatted online via Facebook, have exchanged e-mails and have even spoken on the phone. So, when I found out Wendy and I were going to be in Tom’s neck of the woods this week I immediately arranged for a face-to-face meeting. It was a lot of fun. While refilling my coffee this morning, a friend of Tom’s stopped to chat with him. I had so much fun walking up to the stranger, sticking out my hand and saying “Hi, I’m Tom Vander Well” to which he hesitated and did a double-take to look at Tom Vanderwell who laughed and said, “No, really, he is Tom Vander Well.”

We’ve not been able to establish a direct family connection. The difference in the spelling of the last name is likely from differences in the way the Dutch “van der Wel” was Americanized to either “Vander Well,” “Vanderwell,” or similar spellings. My great-grandfather came by himself in 1885 and settled in Boyden, Iowa. Tom’s grandfather came to the U.S. with a boatload of family in the early 1900s and settled in Michigan. If we go back far enough we may be able to find some connection, but at the very least we’re connected by both faith and the web.

Tom left the banking industry at the beginning of this year and has been working full time for God’s Littlest Angels orphanage in Haiti.