Meet Andrew!

Howdy everyone! My name is Andrew, and I am going to be a junior at Middleton High School this year. This will be my second time heading to Romania, and I am simply overjoyed to be returning and continuing to create new friendships, as well as strengthen old ones. I know God has a lot in store for us, and I hope to be present and actively making an impact alongside the rest of the team.

There’s a few things that you should know about me. First and foremost, I love music. This mainly entails playing piano, but also includes being a part of the choir and the musicals at Middleton, which segways into another aspect of my life, theatre. I have been in six productions so far through Middleton Theatre, most recently the musical Big Fish, and I seem to enjoy being in each show more than the last. Also, I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 10 seconds, so there’s that.

I cannot thank you all enough for your support to the team, as well as putting in the time to be engaged with the events of this trip through the blog. Hats off to you.

Until next post,


(P.S. – Nice blog, Ian.)

Meet Matthew!

I’m Matthew Gartland. I’m 17 and going into my Senior of high school at James Madison Memorial. At Memorial I am a part of 2 sports teams: the swim team and ultimate frisbee teams. My favorite pass times are exploring state parks and finding cool places to Hammock.  I have been apart of 3 Blackhawk Highschool Ministry trips before this one: Joplin Missouri, West Virginia, and the Colorado Backpacking trip.  I decided to go on the Romania trip because I Believe it is a good next step I’m my faith Journey after my Experiances with past mission trips.

Meet Noah!

Greetings from Noah

Hello wonderful blog readers!! It’s Noah, coming to you not so live, but very alive, from the blog! I am a graduated senior from Middleton, that loves soccer and music. Some very important (but not actually that important) things to know about me:

  • If I were to marry a Disney character, I would marry Nala the lion (if I could be a lion or she a human, for obvious reasons)
  • I have had 14 teeth pulled
  • I enjoy rewriting songs (I was going to rewrite a song for this, but procrastination got to me…)

Now that we are basically best friends, I guess I’ll share a little more about how important this trip is to me. This will be my fourth trip to Romania and with every trip comes new relationships and learning experiences. I love the heart behind the Open Roads ministry and the way they share God’s love. There are many relationships I look forward to continuing from past years and I also hope to form many new ones. 

While we are gone, your prayers would be greatly appreciated. Please pray that we can be fully present while in Romania and that we can assist the Open Roads staff in the most beneficial way possible. Pray that we can be humble servants who recognize that we aren’t taking God to Romania—He is already there working through the Open Roads ministry.

Lastly, please please please please leave comments on the blog. I have said it every year, and I mean it every time! Comments can be much needed encouragement throughout the trip!

I’ll leave you alone now… until I blog again 🙂

Thanks for reading!


Meet Julian!

Hello, my name is Julian. I will be a junior this next school year at Middleton High school. I was born in St. Paul Minnesota and moved to Wisconsin in the summer before my 6th-grade year. Most of my friends today I met through homegroup through Blackhawk’s Middle school Ministries, and still today I meet more awesome people through their High School ministries with lots of time to meet and talk about God along with fun camps and missions trips. I chose to be apart of the Romania trip this year for many reasons. Mostly because of my trip to Joplin the year before. I really enjoyed that and wanted to be a part of something bigger. Along with that, I heard lots of great things about the trip from friends, and leaders who are a part of the ministry. This will be my first time on the trip. Outside of church, I am very interested in math and science, I enjoy practicing Violin, playing badminton, hanging with the Wolfpacc, and listening to classical music. My family includes me, my brother who will be an eighth-grader next year, me mum and pop and two dogs, Bella, and Charlie. So far this summer, I celebrated my grandfathers 80th birthday in North Carolina on the outer banks, as a family reunion with 22 people. Before I conclude, I would like to say that my friend CTM is a gremlin suckler. Thanks for all the support and prayer you have given me the past couple months so that I could be able to go to Romania!


Meet Hannah!

Hey hey hey it’s Hannah!!!

A few things about me…

  1. I like lists a lot so here we are 
  2. Wowowowow I’m as happy as a face spoon to be returning to Romania for the second year in a row 😄🥄
  3. I’m a recent Memorial High grad and will be attending UGA next year (GO DAWGS 🐾) to study Early Childhood Education 
  4. If it was not clear enough from my college decision, I love warm weather. Although maybe not quite as hot as our record breaking heat wave last year 
  5. I’m a subpar dodgeball player if we’re being honest 
  6. I’m an above average friendship bracelet maker, although not nearly as talented as the one and only Abby
  7. If the game is steal the bacon I go hard 👊
  8. Leading worship in two languages is THE coolest thing. Ever. In the whole world. 
  9. Fineti>Nutella. Personal opinion. #ifyouknowyouknow 
  10. I’m really good at sleeping on planes. And busses. And basically anywhere. I consider it a spiritual gift on this trip. 


Please pray that as we return to Romania, old friendships will pick right back up where they left off and that our new team members will jump right into the family. Also pray for those of us who will be headed off to college after the trip that we would be present and not be distracted by the changes going on in our lives. 


Thanks for all of your continuous love and support! Don’t forget to leave comments!!!!


Meet Grace!

Hi! My name is Grace and this will be my second time going on this trip. With only a few days left until we embark on this amazing journey, I find myself getting more and more excited to reunite with the friends I made last year and meet more people. Since last year, I’ve realized that there truly is no other community like Open Roads, and I jumped at the opportunity to re-apply for the team this year to see all the neat things God has been doing in Craiova.

I guess I should probably tell you all some things about me though. The first thing you should know is that I LOVE movies: soapy dramas, Oscar flicks, but most of all anything that is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just a little bit of trivia, I saw Spiderman: Homecoming four times in theaters over the course of two months last summer; that’s how much I love Marvel. But my geekdom doesn’t end there. When I’m not spending all my time and money at the movie theater, you can probably find me at home learning about Machine Learning, which I guess is the part of artificial intelligence that humans have somewhat achieved, and other various science-y or math-y topics. Oh and another piece of info you may want to know: I am a recent graduate from Middleton HS and I plan on attending the University of Chicago in the fall. Although as the date to sign up for classes approaches, I find that my desired major keeps fluctuating like a diverging sinusoidal graph (sorry, just a little math analogy there for you). Anyways, I’m signing off now to go purchase oodles of friendship bracelet string for the long plane and bus rides.

Thank you for all of your prayers and love,


Meet Kip!

Hey guys, my name is Kip, and I am going to be a junior at Middleton High School this upcoming school year. This is the first time that I am making the venture to Romania, although I have been to Missouri and Alaska in previous mission trips. I have heard many incredible stories and memories from one of my older sisters who has been on the trip twice in past years. I am thrilled with the opportunity to do God’s work and to partner with Open Roads for this mission trip.

A few things about me: my absolutely favorite sport is golf. I was lucky enough to be apart of Middleton’s Varsity Golf team last spring, and our team went to state last year for the first time in two years. I am also interested in computers and programming. I have made a few apps and games in the past (unfortunately they’re not on the app store), with sights on taking multiple computer programming courses at school in the next couple of years. As I mentioned above, I have been on two mission trips, one to Joplin, Missouri, and another to Sutton, Alaska. In Missouri, we built a deck for an elderly couple, and in Alaska we ran a day camp for kids of Sutton.  

Thank you so much for visiting our blog. Make sure you check back to see our progress while we are in Romania. And above all, I humbly ask you to pray for a safe trip for us and for our team to make meaningful relationships with the people in Romania that will make a lasting impact even after we leave. Thanks!



Meet Leah!

Hi friends! My name is Leah and I am going to be a junior at Memorial next year. This is my first time going to Romania and I am absolutely elated! I have heard about this trip from both friends and my sister, Hannah, who went last year and is going again this year. I am thrilled that I get to share this trip experience with her right before she leaves for college! Hearing the way God has used the team in the past seems like something that is truly hard to put into words, so I can’t wait to experience it myself.

So far this summer, I have been preparing for the upcoming Cross Country season, playing on my MUFA (Madison Ultimate Frisbee Assosiation) team, playing lots of ukulele, spending time with friends, and of course, watching lots of Friends on Netflix while doing puzzles 🙂 This trip will by far be the most exciting thing to happen in my summer of 2018. In past summers I have gone on both the Alaska missions trip (2015) and Joplin missions trip (2017) with Blackhawk, but this will be my first time getting to leave the country, so that is something I get to check off my bucket list! (Other bucket list items include riding a hot air balloon, getting a joke on Laffy Taffy, learning to tap dance, getting a tattoo, joining an acapella group, and owning a pet pig.)

I can’t wait to tell you all about the trip so keep checking in for updates and hit us up with some fun and uplifting comments 😀 Thanks all!

~Leah :))))

Meet Kirstin!

Imagine, if you would, that we are in elementary school, in art class, and I have created a symbolic self-portrait from random items:

(read in a cutesy voice)

a clock for a head, because I like being timely and neat

a book for a body, because I like reading

a pencil for each arm, because I like writing

a music note for each hand, because I like music

a bus for each leg, because I like public transportation

clouds for feet, because I like clouds

and I sign my name on the bottom of one of the clouds. “Tada!” says I, proudly.

“Tada yourself,” grouches Symbolic Me, sitting up on the table and crossing her wooden arms.

I frown at my creation’s lack of respect. “What do you mean?”

Symbolic Me ignores the question and sniffs distastefully as she inspects the book title on her body. “Lord of the Rings! More like ‘Lord of the Walking’! Yech.”

“Hey,” says I. “You should be proud to wear that cover. The world that Tolkien creates is—Stop that!” Symbolic Me is now attempting to disconnect one of her legs from the rest of her body.

“Don’t want no smelly, ole’ bus,” says Symbolic Me. “Get this off me!”

“But public transportation is such a beautiful thing!” I cry. “It’s the intersection of hundreds of lives, the point, where, for the briefest of minutes, we are connected to countless other souls we might never see again—”

“And clouds are stupid,” says Symbolic Me and proceeds to bite off her left foot.

“That’s it! I’ve had it!” I lean down and stick my nose in Symbolic Me’s ungrateful clock face. “It doesn’t matter what you think! You are made to represent me, got it? ME!”

“Who’d want to represent you?” says my creation and sticks out her tongue.

I promptly drop a brick on Symbolic Me’s undeserving head. (What, your elementary school art class didn’t have bricks?)

Moral of the story: God is greater in mercy and love than we can ever comprehend.

Meet Ian!

Hello everyone! My name is Ian, and I just graduated from Verona High School and am going to UW Eau Claire in the fall. This will be my first time going to Romania, and I am absolutely thrilled! I can’t wait to see what interesting ways God will be working through me on the trip. 

Some interesting things about me are that I played football and basketball through high school and am going to be studying business administration and accounting in college. 

My prayer requests for the trip are that I am able to make meaningful, impactful relationships with Romanians as well as with others on the team, and that I am able to be fully present in my time there and make the most out of this incredible experience. Finally, thank you to anyone who supported the team financially. Without you, this trip would not be possible!