April 28th Family BBQ at Mission Bay Park. I was the first out of Sara’s house, taking Grandpa in the four-door F-150 to Mission Bay Park near the Gonzalez’ house. The house was buzzing with all of Sara’s family. I have to say my wife’s family couldn’t be much better. They all have a personal relationship with Jesus and this makes a big difference in all of their lives. You can see the love, the love that only Christians know, in Sara’s family, in the way that they treat each other. I was excited and wowed by all her family members who were also missionaries like me. Besides Sara’s amazing parents, Dr. Alejandro and Ruth Gonzalez, who serve as medical missionaries in The Good Shepherd Hospital in San Quintin, Mexico, (Which by the way would have been interesting enough!) in the house there was a slew of more missionaries and clergy! The aunts were there from Africa and Uncle Duane was there from Switzerland and serves in Nepal, and Uncle Jonathon and Aunt Patty had come from Minnesota, where Jonathon serves at Bethel Seminary. Sara’s older sister Rita, also a missionary doctor in Baja, would not have missed the festivities either, and she brought her darling and hilarious daughters too! To round it out were the elder Poppe Patriarchs, Sara’s grandparents, who are 86 year old Rev. Raymond and 86 year old Grandma Sarah Poppe. They were both very sharp and fun to talk to. This was a big deal that they had travelled from their corn-farm in Iowa to be there for the wedding! When Grandma Poppe saw me for the first time she lite up and almost squealed for joy as she rushed to hug and kiss me! Sara says that I’m Grandma Poppe’s new favorite, since she mentions me a lot in her family letters that she emails to all her children and grandchildren. So I have a lot to live up to now! So while the ladies were still all busy with wedding business, My Sara told me that I could go be the first one there at the set time of 10:00 am, and that one person who could go with me could be Grandpa. So I took Grandpa Poppe in the F-150 and he told me right off the bat, that he has one too! We made our way down steep Niagara Avenue with the Ocean Beach right in front of us, then we turned right and went from Sunset Cliffs Drive, over the San Diego River, onto Sea World Drive. After passing Sea World, we made a left into Mission Bay park and soon we pulled up and found Dan and my nieces and nephews there waiting for us. Dan and all the kids came up to the truck to meet Grandpa Poppe and to hug me too. I was so happy at that moment to have all my nieces and nephews and Dan all waiting there eagerly to see Grandpa and I. It was one of the little moments of the whole wedding week that I guess you could say felt “special”, if I can say that with a straight face. It really was touching, and the day continued to be special, as one after another more family arrived. My mom came with Sara and her sister, and was happy to see her grandkids and also Sara’s nieces. You could see in my mom’s face that she was delighted as she sat with Sara’s family and visited with them! All afternoon, as Dan and I got sun burnt trying to manage the Barbeque without utensils, my mom visited with all of Sara’s family who had come from the ends of the earth. Later, after Dan and I got our burgers and got to sit down and enjoy the deviled eggs and chips and watermelon, my nephews played steal Uncle John D.’s flip-flops. Thank God the park was very grassy and well watered, because I was running for ever after Andrew, Ashton, Avery, Aileen and Abrilita. When Anelise and Aida came, we also played “Ring around the Roses” with all the kids, and I could tell that the young ones were having a great time with everything. It was a good bonding time for our two families. Later that day Dan took the kids to by Friar Tux Shop for his fitting. I had to go there too, and by total chance I pulled up and saw my nephews in the shop! I was so surprised and amused! I wasn’t expecting to see them there! They were also excited to see me! When I went to Dan’s van, to try to surprise the girls and Ashton, I walked up to the window to surprise the girls, but they had seen me already. After they opened the car door so we could visit, I saw that Ashton was crying. I asked Ashton why he was crying, and he looked embarrassed when I asked him, then Anelise told me it was because he had dropped the treat that he was eating on the ground. I gave an Ashton a high five and tried to comfort my little nephew a little. After that I went back in for my sizing, since Sara wanted to me make sure I hadn’t changed waist size, since I gained weight (for the first time in my life!) while back in San Diego. It was crawling with high-school guys getting their prom tux. The next day at my bachelor party, Billy, one of my groomsman quipped:

“J.D., Next time you get married, make sure it’s not close to prom season! Yea, in the Friar Tux Shop in Moreno Valley, it was jam-packed with highschoolers getting their prom-tuxes.”

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2 thoughts on “Day Before the Rehearsal Dinner

  1. Dear JD,

    We are so proud of you. We praise God for your love for Spain. May the Lord continue to bless you and your lovely wife!

    Blessings,

    Frank and Lydia

    1. Hi Frank and Lydia! Thank you for looking me up! I had sent you newsletters to your old address, but they came back, I guess when you moved. I’m playing guitar at Fuente de Vida at trinity tomorrow.

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