We are here!

Hello family, friends, and supporters-

First, thank you for reading these posts. It is encouraging to know that you are following along with your support and prayers. We could not be here without the many ways you are serving us, so thank you. Please consider yourself a part of our team as you read along. 😊

We left Madison at 9a yesterday, arrived in Chicago around noon, arrived in Miami around 730p, arrived in LaPaz around 5a, and arrived in Sucre around 11a. It has been a LONG two days of travel. La Paz is at 12000 elevation so some of us struggled with lightheadedness and nausea during our few hours at the airport there. However, now that we are in Sucre (9000 feet), we are all doing much better. 

We arrived at the Sucre airport and were greeted by several Food for the Hungry staff that work in our partner community, Lajastambo, as well as a 4th grade class from the school. They sang the Bolivian national anthem and passed out some beautiful bags to our team. It was a sweet moment for the team, we were so warmly welcomed! Steve and Anne immediately recognized their sponsored child and were able to spend some time with her. 


After that, we headed to our hostel and crashed for a few hours followed by a walk into downtown Sucre for dinner. 

We are all ready for a good nights sleep and have such anticipation, joy and excitement for the week ahead. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each other better while traveling and are really enjoying spending the week getting to know the families in Lajastambo as well as the FH staff.

A special shout out to my family: Ben, Annika and Celia. I love you three like crazy. Thank you for making space for me to be a part of this team.

Thank to each of you for following along! We covet your prayers this week.


Sara Zimmerman

Blackhawk Church Fitchburg Welcome and Operations Coordinator

Blackhawk Church – 9620 Brader Way – Middleton, WI 53562 – 608.828.4200

Blog post for James Self

My name is James Self and I am part of the November Bolivia team. My wife Teresa and I, and our two daughters, have been part of Blackhawk Church for many years. I am looking forward to our trip to Lajastambo, Bolivia to partner with the community and Food for the Hungry. I have been part of many previous Blackhawk medical teams to Honduras as well as a few trips with Food for the Hungry to the Dominican Republic. I am excited to work with a partner like Food for the Hungry because I believe that their approach to “missions” is a solid one based on a biblical world view that can provide lasting change with all types of poverty, both ours and theirs. We always find ourselves getting more out of these relationships than we bring to them. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for us and the community of Lajastambo.

Hello (some) November Bolivia team members!

My name is Steve Rodgers and, like the rest of our team, I’m busy making final preparations for our upcoming trip. It’s exciting to see this all unfold and to see what God has in store for us.
We’re looking forward to learning and building relationships in Bolivia. While our relationship with Food for the Hungry–Bolivia is relatively new, we’ve all been impressed with their concern for each of us, for the people of Lajastambo, and for their attention to detail. Their ministry philosophy and goals are such a great fit for Blackhawk.  
It’s rare that my wife Anne and I get to go on the same trip together. We’re looking forward to learning together about how we can best serve married couples in Lajastambo.
Please pray for wisdom, discernment, and teachable hearts as we go and learn how we can partner with Food for the Hungry—Bolivia and the people of Lajastambo.
Stay tuned for more updates!

Blog post for Curt Staats


 My name is Curt Staats, I’m married to Pat and we have 3 sons, 2 daughter-in-laws and 2 grandchildren.  I am co-leading this team with Tom Schwei as a next step in Blackhawk’s involvement with Food for the Hungry in Bolivia.  This trip we are bringing potential team leaders to get them oriented to Bolivia and the work we will be doing there under the direction of Food for the Hungry and their staff.

I previously led teams to Honduras and enjoy working with Hispanics and mission teams.  We are going with a humble attitude as we are learning that we are all in poverty whether it is physical, mental, relational or spiritual.  Only through our relationship with Jesus can we find true relief from poverty.
Thank you to all of you that have prayed for and supported us!   We will keep you posted on our plans and we are looking forward to seeing what God is doing.
Curt Staats


Greetings All,
I’m so excited about the opportunity to go to Bolivia!  We have all been busy preparing doing the usual things… like finding our passports, getting shots, collecting items that Food for the Hungry requested we bring, reading, etc.  I think now I needed to prepare my heart and quiet my soul so the spirit can work in me and thru me.  Unfortunately this is more involved than all the others pre-travel tasks on my list.  I can’t just go to the travel clinic for this work. Please pray for the team in this regard….. A big sincere thanks to all in our community who have helped with any type of support!!
Carl Atwell

Saludos de Juanito

> My name is Jon Wanta and I am honored and humbled to be part of this team and trip to Bolivia.  I previously served on teams to Honduras in 2011 and 2014 and I’m excited to join this team in partnering with Food for the Hungry. 
> I met my wife Rachael via a team member, and now good friend, that I served with on the 2014 trip to Honduras!  Rachael and I have the privilege of working together to raise three girls: Addie and Taylor (twins), age 12 and Lola, age 9.  We also have a sweet and energetic 14 month old pit bull/lab mix.  I work in residential construction and enjoy woodworking in my spare time.

Hello Supporters of this Bolivia Team

My name is Anne Rodgers and I am excited to be a part of this new venture with Blackhawk Church and Food for the Hungry in Bolivia (and my husband)!
I am a retired Occupational Therapist, wife of Steve for 40 years, mother of four grown children, and grandmother of soon-to-be 8 grandchildren.
I have had the privilege of being a part of one trip to Romania with high schoolers, and a multiple trips to Honduras, the last several helping to lead.      
I have a heart for serving the underserved locally and internationally.

Because of His Grace,image1.JPG


Blog post by Sara Zimmerman

My name is Sara Zimmerman and I am grateful to be going on the November trip to Bolivia with Food for the Hungry. 
A little about me…I have been married to Ben for 16 years and we have 2 daughters, Annika (9) and Celia (8). We live in Verona and attend Blackhawk Fitchburg. Ben is a meteorologist and business consultant and I work for Blackhawk Fitchburg. In my (little) time, I enjoy hiking, walking our dog, tennis, cooking, travel, and trying new restaurants with my family.
My journey with GO teams and Food for the Hungry (FH) started in 2002 when I was fresh out of college and an idealistic social worker. I had a desire to "change the world" but very little real life experience. I clearly remember Pastor Chris saying in one of his sermons that "every one should go on a short-term mission trip at some point". I have a innate interest in social justice and culture so of course, I was in! The first trip that was offered after that was a trip to Peru with FH so I immediately signed up. Through a series of events, Ben and I ended up leading teams to Peru with FH from 2003-2013. During those years, I developed a deep love for the community we partnered with (La Merced de Neshuya), the FH staff and their work there, as well as South America. My heart and assumptions about the world and people different from me were challenged so much during those years. My worldview has widened and many of my false beliefs about poverty have changed to what I believe better reflect God’s worldview. I still have a lot to learn. 
I want to take a moment to thank the many people who have supported me with prayers, finances and encouragement. Your support is very meaningful to me. We may never know on this side of heaven the impact that these partnerships will have on all of us. These verses from Isaiah 55 have been my meditation as I think about this partnership:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Please follow along on this blog to be updated on our trip. In the meantime, if you would pray for a humble, learner’s heart for our team. We have so much to learn from our brothers and sisters in Bolivia.

Sara Zimmerman

Please pray for the Bolivia November 2017 GO Team and the people of Lajastambo

Hola amigos!

From November 2 – 11, 2017, ten Blackhawkers will be heading to Bolivia to continue our partnership with Food for the Hungry in Lajastambo, which is on the outskirts of Sucre, the capital and 2nd largest city in Bolivia.  Many people from rural areas come to Lajastambo to find employment and their families come with them, often only with whatever they can carry with them.

Food for the Hungry (FH) has as its mission to help communities learn more about nutrition and health, with a heavy focus on children and families.  Their general approach is to partner with communities for up to 10 years and, during that time, help prepare the communities to be self-sustaining after FH leaves the community.  It is a philosophy that coincides well with Blackhawk’s philosophy regarding international mission trips and partnerships.  

Curt Staats and I (Tom Schwei) will be leading the trip.  Our primary purpose is to identify the most important ways in which Blackhawk can effectively partner with FH for the benefit of the people of Lajastambo.  We’ve already done this by having more than 200 children sponsored by Blackhawk attendees. On this trip, we want to find other ways, including possible future trips, that will provide additional help and support for the people of Lajastambo. We plan to meet with community leaders and others identified by FH to help us determine the best way we can help.

Please join us on this trip by praying for our team, the FH staff (two of whom are shown in the picture) and the people of Lajastambo. And please follow our blog as other team members will soon do their initial post and the team plans to post throughout our trip while in Bolivia.  

Thank you to all who have supported us to date.  It is greatly appreciated!