Our Bags Are Packed…

We are two days away from takeoff! Sunday night we spent a few hours packing bags and making sure everything met the airline restrictions. Cheeseheads and green & yellow Santa hats made an appearance (“pack(er)ing” party) while everyone pitched in to pack bags, re-pack bags, weigh bags, record information and encourage each other. We shared our excitement and our nerves about leaving and we can’t wait to begin this journey together. I hope you have had a chance to read all of the team’s bios and learn more about these amazing students. Thank you all who have supported us and been praying for us! -Melissa


Hello everyone! My name is Andrew, and I am going to be a sophomore at Middleton High School this year, which makes me the youngest person on the team by two school years. 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. I have two older siblings that have already gone to Romania multiple times, so I have heard many stories of how incredible it was for them, and I can’t wait to get a hands-on perspective of Open Roads and the work they are doing there.

Some things you should know about me are that I have been playing piano for 7 years, and I can never resist playing a quick song or two on a piano if I see one. Some extracurriculars I have been a part of are Middleton Theatre, who recently put on the production Urinetown, and Global Outreach club, who put on fundraisers to raise money for Open Roads and other organizations. Also, I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 10 seconds (and I will be bringing several puzzles on the trip).

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.

-Karbusicky #3

Mattéa // pronounced Ma-TAY-uh

Hello everyone! My name is Mattéa, yes, WITH the accent (haha), and pronounced Ma-TAY-uh. I recently graduated from Edgewood High School (if recent can still be considered in mid-May), and this is my first year on the Romania team, and any mission team. I am super-duper excited to be a part of this team and make experiences that will last a lifetime. 

A little about me: I love all animals, but especially birds and my two pups, a cockapoo named Saidie and a Labradoodle named Emmit. I had a life changing experience when I got into a car accident on Leap Day of 2016. I was driving to school when I was T-boned in a blind intersection and sent into a tree. I was a block away from the my town’s high school and there were a lot of kids walking to school, so there were so many factors that could have gone wrong but God was watching out for me. Since that day, I really took to heart the idea that life is short. I decided that I should make the most of it and do whatever I can to make the world a better place and to help others in any way that I can. I love music and songwriting as well. Before graduation, I would often jam with one of my friends, Jeremiah, and recently joined a band in hopes to spread musical joy. I am so excited to see what this trip holds for me and to make new friends along the way. 

Thanks for reading! 


Hello from Morgan

Hello! My name is Morgan, and I am excited to be a part of Blackhawk’s Romania GO team for the first time. Reading this blog and hearing from friends who have previously traveled to Craiova has grown my curiosity and desire to see what God is already doing in Romania and to jump in alongside Open Roads.

Outside of Blackhawk’s High School Ministries, I swam competitively all four years of high school and picked up lacrosse and ultimate frisbee in the off-seasons. I love music (playing in the band, listening to Spotify’s Discover Weekly, and attending concerts), trying new and unusual foods, being outdoors, and reading. Traveling with my family over the years has also developed and sparked my desire to hop in a car or on a plane to change up the scenery, learn how others live, and see the beauty and diversity of God’s creation. And I can’t wait to visit Romania! Shortly following our trip, I will be moving to Virginia to attend the College of William & Mary.

After eighth grade, I traveled to Sutton, Alaska with Blackhawk to partner with Eaglecrest and serve community members whether through physical labor or simply time spent connecting. Before the trip, my thoughts centered mostly around the supplies and activities needed for the mini-day camp we would run and whether or not I had enough sunscreen. Afterwards, however, I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about the people I had met. I am truly excited that relationships are among the most valued aspects of this trip, and I cannot wait to spend the time talking with the Romanian leaders and campers.

I don’t speak Romanian. As cool as it would be to know the language, I recognize the language barrier that will exist. Previous team members have talked about using translators, but because I have never attempted to speak through a translator or communicate explicitly through gestures, I am not quite sure what to expect. My biggest prayer request is that God could use me even when I can’t comprehend the language in any capacity and that I would come to appreciate the time and these friendships in a new regard after seeing God work in ways which are unusual to me.

A MAJOR thank you to those who have encouraged me to apply for this trip, who have helped me prepare, and who have made it possible to go. I am incredibly grateful for your thoughts and generosity. I can’t wait to share the experience with you!

Stay tuned for updates throughout our trip! Thanks,



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!