Hi, my name is Grace and I will be a senior this upcoming school year at Middleton High School. This summer, I am starting to put together my college applications for the fall (what a tedious way to spend my time, I know, I know) but I’ll try not to make this sound too much like one. Some of you might not be aware, but junior year was my first time being a year-round jock—probably my greatest accomplishment ever. In the fall, I ran cross-country (JV since they don’t make any cuts); in the winter, I played indoor soccer (we lost every single game); and in the spring, I joined the ultimate team (spirit circles are the worst). I also am a member of the Hope & Co Bottle Brigade. What’s that, you might ask? Well, we’re like a band/a capella group but cooler because we make music with…bottles (beer bottles, lime syrup bottles, onion shaped bottles, you name it)! A final tidbit of information: this summer I went on the Colorado backpacking trip with Blackhawk, and it was such an amazing experience. I slept under the stars on a rock. It was awesome.

Which brings me to Romania. Sort of. When I was in 8th grade, I had the privilege of going to Sutton, Alaska on a mission trip to run a summer camp for the youth there through Eaglecrest ministries. That trip really opened my eyes to how God can do extraordinary things through ordinary people. The next year, I went to West Virginia and helped build and paint a house for some of the local people there, which was a very different experience from Alaska. This year, I prayed a lot about where I should go this summer, and God called me to serve in Romania. I heard a lot about what the Romania trip was like from friends who went last year so I was already pretty familiar with what the trip entailed. I am part of the Global Outreach Club at MHS and for the past three years, we have raised money by putting on a school dance to send to organizations around the world, including Open Roads. I am incredibly excited to be a part of this mission trip, and I can’t wait to see and be a part of what God has planned.

Thank you for all of your prayers and love,



Hello friends, family, and pets, my name is Katrina. This is my second year going to Romania, and you could say I’m pretty pumped. In fact, on a scale from 1 to 10, I’m probably at a 14.5! Just ask my family and friends, I haven’t stopped talking about the trip for the past 4 months. Last year was such an incredible experience for me. I am so excited to continue to build on the relationships I made last year, as well as make new ones! It is such a blessing to see God working so clearly through our team, the Romanian leader team, and the campers. I am looking forward to seeing what He has in store for our team this year!

Now for semi interesting things about me. I just graduated this year from Middleton High School and will be going to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota this fall. I enjoy all things outdoors, from hiking to tree climbing. I also enjoy photography and any type of sport, especially dodgeball (which comes in handy in Romania)

For prayer requests, I just ask for prayers for our team’s health and safety. It is so important for our team to be at the top of our game and fully present when we are in Romania. Also for me specifically, that I am able to stay present with what is happening around me. And maybe prayers that all the bags land safely with us in Craivoa this year 🙂

Hi from Hannah :D

Well hello, blog readers! I’m Hannah and I’m so so excited to be going to Romania (and out of the country) for the first time! I am one of the four proud non-Middleton students on the trip and will be a senior this year at Memorial High school. My favorite foods are pancakes, watermelon, guacamole, and lasagna and I know every word to every High School Musical song in all three movies. When I’m not flying across the ocean to foreign countries, I enjoy running cross country, playing soccer, performing musicals, and inviting myself and large groups of people over to the Hershberger’s cabin. The past two years, I’ve gone on Blackhawk’s West Virginia missions trip, and I’m looking forward to trying something new and stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit. After hearing story after story about previous trips, I can’t wait to go and experience it all for myself. Please pray that strong relationships would develop quickly while we are on the ground in Romania. As a first time team member I am anxious, nervous, and also very excited to meet so many new people and have to talk to some of them through translators. Please pray that despite language and cultural barriers, we would be able to connect with everyone we meet there and clearly reflect God’s love. Thanks for all your support! Hannah

Hey from Dan

Hey guys, I’m Dan. I am a graduated senior, so this trip will be the cherry on top of my high school experience. I really enjoy playing frisbee, I have 10 fingers, two eyes, one nose, and next year (more like next month) I will be attending Purdue University for engineering, but next week I will be in Romania!!!


I love Romania and what Open Roads is doing there. This is my third visit to the ministry and Romania, I am incredibly excited to see what God has for this team and I over the next couple of weeks, and having seen him act in some pretty amazing ways in past trips, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us this time around. My prayer request is that we would be a team of soft hearts to love on the Romanians and of open eyes to see what God is doing around us. 

Shoutout to The Pollard for stealing my quote from last year. That is called plagiarism my dear friend. But I still agree with the sentiment: it is always nice to hear some words from back home, so don’t hesitate to comment!

One of the Morgans

Hey there!

My name is Morgan and I am blessed to say that this will be my second time traveling to Romania with Blackhawk Church. I met many incredible people last year, and I am excited to be returning to a place where you can’t have a conversation without at least a little sarcasm, where expected water fights happen quite unexpectedly, where everyone is always smiling or laughing, where you can’t sleep in past 6:00, but the view you wake up to is well worth it, and where the people make a place, that I once couldn’t locate on a map, feel like home. 

In my life here in good old Wisconsin, I will be a senior at Middleton High School this coming fall. This summer "vacation" has thus far been consumed by many hours at work, a move into a new house, and all the while finding time to be with my family and friends. When I have the time to relax, I enjoy playing various games with my sisters and friends, paying a visit to Sonic for some slushies, driving (or walking!) around Middleton to understand the new feeling of living in a domesticated area, taking naps, sitting on the front swing with whomever gets a seat before my dog does, and spending time with the people I love. 

As our team quickly approaches our departure date, I ask that you keep us all in your thoughts in prayers. Please pray for safe travels, good health, and open hearts to accept anything and everything God has to teach us in our time both here and away.

Lastly, I cannot thank you all enough for your support. Our team could not do this without you. Thank you.

P.S. another video is in the making 🙂


Eden’s Return

Hey everyone! I’m Eden. I will be a senior this fall at Memorial High School, and this is my second year on the Romania team. I’m over the moon to be returning to Romania this year and seeing many familiar faces! The Open Roads ministry is doing amazing things in Craiova, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
I have been involved in Blackhawk’s youth ministries since I was in middle school, participating in Home Groups, weekend retreats, the Alaska trip, Madison Missions, Servant Team, and more. My other extracurriculars include playing violin in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, Student Senate, and two educational programs, TEEM and PEOPLE. I am currently an intern at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and at UW-Madison’s Law School, and I am hoping to attend UW-Madison next year. Some of my favorite pastimes include watching superhero movies, taking photos, learning new languages, and traveling.
As we depart to Romania, I ask for prayers for safe travels, good health, and most importantly, many touched hearts. Comments on this blog are always appreciated:)
Thanks for reading!

Meet Bria

Honestly I don’t think I can accurately depict myself and my motives for going on this trip in a few sentences, but please enjoy this jumble of facts and stories that share a little bit about me.
I recently came to the realization that I am at a severe risk for a laughing attack when I laying on my back. Seriously laying down puts me in a giggly mood; Even the lamest of jokes could result in a side cramp from minutes of laughter. It’s a pattern that has popped up throughout my entire life but the first time I really remember if affecting me was when I hung out with my siblings and cousin one summer day when I was about 8. We were playing a game where one person lays on their back and looks up, while another sits in front of their head and stares down. After a few minutes the face of the person looming over you suddenly switches, and it appears upside down. Their hair looks like a beard, their chin a forehead, and you and your partner laugh at each other’s goofy appearance. One day playing this game resulted in me laughing for upwards of 10 minutes straight, unable to stop picturing my cousins lovely features turned upside down and oddly distributed. This inclination to laugh has followed me to frisbee tournaments, swim meets, Blackhawk retreats, and hopefully it will follow me on this trip too.
I love music. I’ve played piano since I was six, I’m in my school orchestra, I’m not ready for my day unless a pair of headphones find their way into my bag.
I used to swim competitively, partly I think cause I’m a secret adrenaline junky, and also because I loved the principles it taught me. Because I swam I’ve learned to be confident, determined, to have integrity. I do miss it sometimes, but now I teach kids to swim who hopefully can learn the same lessons from me.
My older sister Kira has been on this trip twice, and had the opportunity to return to Romania this past spring while studying abroad in Spain. I’ve heard so many stories from her and others who have been on the trip. I can’t pretend to understand what they’ve experienced while in Romania, but I’ve heard enough to open a huge part of my heart to the orphans Open Roads is working with. And I’m ecstatic to finally meet them.

Meet Athena

I’m Athena and I will be a senior this upcoming fall. I am super excited to be going to Romania for the first time this summer. On this trip, I am looking forward to seeing how God is working around the world. I have heard a lot about Open Roads from friends and from taking part in the Global Outreach club, which the last few years has raised money for Open Roads.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking (althoughI’m slightly disappointed by the lack of mountains in the area), making food (especially ice cream, or anything that is a bit weird, or better, weird ice cream), and nerding out about biology. During the school year, I keep busy with clubs including ModelUnited Nations, Student Council, Global Outreach, Book club, Future Problem Solvers, and ultimate frisbee (yes, it is technically a club). You also may spot me hanging out with four-year-olds in Next Gen on Sunday mornings, or in the occasional Family Fusion show.
My prayer requests for this trip are for good health all around and that I am able to build meaningful relationships with those in Romania and on the Blackhawk team. Thank you so much to all those who have supported me and the team.
La revedere!


What’s up people of the interwebs?!?!?!
Heyo, my name is Noah and I am super excited to be a part of the team this year! This will be my third time going to Romania and I’m pumped to have the opportunity to continue the relationships that I have built in the past.
After we get back from Romania I will be going into my senior year at Middleton High School. In my spare time I love playing soccer, ski jumping, playing the viola, listening to music, and rewriting songs. I have about 4 rewritten songs including Holy Ghost and Jesus (to the tune of Hot Cheetos and Takis) and Jordan Bell’s Shirts (to the tune of Jordan Belfort)—I’m still working on the music videos 🙂
While we are gone I ask for prayers that we have safe travels and that I can be fully present while in Romania.
Thank you all for the support! Please use the internet to its fullest potential by leaving comments!!!

Hello from Adia!

Hello! My name is Adia, and I will be a Senior at Memorial High School this fall. My hobbies include running, traveling, and drinking coffee. Here are some more random facts about me:
-I love reading -I speak Spanish fluently -I’ve travelled to Europe many times since I was seven weeks old -I LOVE chocolate -I hate milk – unless it’s in my coffee 😉
I am incredibly excited about this opportunity to go to Romania. I know that this trip is definitely going to be challenging, but I can’t wait to step out of my comfort zone. I love to be pushed past my limits and to grow as a person and most of all, as a Christ-follower. I’m excited to see what God has in store for us for this trip!
Have a blessed day!