It's no secret that Agape Romanian Church in Arizona is the place "unde dragostea este la ea acasa" or "where love is at her place", so it's also no surprise that the spring church picnic for the tightly knit band of loving brothers and sisters at Agape shone, even in the heat of approaching summer.
The picnic was located at the lush and serene Anthem Community Park in Anthem, Arizona. With it's stunning fishing ponds and naturistic decoration, and a long list of community activities, no park could have better suited the lovely church gathering. While the prized chefs cooked "mititei" (my personal favorite)- a traditional beef and pork sausage mixed with multiple basic condiments grilled over a fiery grill flame- and a few other main dishes, the women of the church brought homemade delicacies and side dishes ranging from delicious potato salad, to only the best pastries this side of Arizona.
To wash all the amazing foods down, chilled soft drinks and water were served while the picnickers shared the latest news with their friends. For those wishing for a more balanced meal, fresh fruits and vegetables were available throughout the day. Because of the wide variety of goods, everyone left satisfied.
Particularly exciting was the brilliance of the children. Being close to summer and all, a small group of boys decided to have their own little water party. They splashed each other with some extra bottles of water, and had a jolly good time. Of course (I'm assuming) no one got a cold. Meanwhile, the young girls (and some other sweet little boys) frolicked around and played their innocent tag games constantly inside a huge fire truck bouncer awaiting them at the park. The older children even brought their bikes or scooters to the spacious park, and raced around the lavish terrain for a few laps. You can imagine the popsicles that were provided disappeared almost instantly!
For the teens, they gathered in their own little section while they ate. Playful banter and clean jokes were abound in the loving group of teenagers. After that, a few of the teens joined the youngsters and their parents on the gentle train ride around the flawless park. Although I could not stay long enough to see it, I'm sure the teens did a fantastic job at football and volleyball, and played as a team should: through teamwork and honest play. Everyone showed their younger side during the competitive sports, which were without a doubt, extraordinarily fun!
The picnic consisted of mostly members of Agape Christian Church in Phoenix, AZ, but there were visitors from other Romanian churches who were received with open arms. Overall, the picnic was a place for everyone to have a good time and relax together as a family. When it comes to these kinds of events, all that really matters is how the attendees feel when the fun occasion ends, and it seems safe to say that everyone had a fantastic time! Of course, for such a wonderful and personal church like Agape, what else could it be other than fantastic?
Agape really is "unde dragostea este la ea acasa". Myself and the entire congregation are majorly looking forward to the upcoming fall/autumn picnic. Until then, we will tighten our bonds together as a big, local and international family at Agape. The beautiful Anthem Community Park mixed with the amazing community of Agape Church is truly leaving a deep mark of fellowship that every church should have.
Props to pastor Petrica Lascau, (the senior pastor at Agape) and his family for creating such an amazing community; props to every single family and person who dedicated their time for assembling this amazing community gathering- they all did a splendid job! But most of all, we give a big shout of praise to God our heavenly father for creating such an overwhelming sense of community and brotherly love between followers.
Photography by Daniela LEKA
Arizona, May 2013