Monthly Archives: May 2013

A word from Rick and Randy…

Rick had a few things he felt were important to post here, and then Randy did some editing. I’m just going to post their thoughts here – with no editorial control from me.


As we come to the end of our search activities and rely on what the police and SBU are doing in the criminal investigation, mom is trying to “reintegrate” – go to church – and the store and the gas station – trying to take up life again.  So I thought I’d share a few ideas on what to say (or not to say) upon meeting.  These ideas could apply more generally to other family members – but especially to mom.

The one greeting that we all use all the time is “How are you Sharlene?”  But there is no good answer to the “how are you?” question.  Should she say “Terrible”?, or “OK”?, or “Great”?  None of these answers seem appropriate.  And further, the question “How are you?” invites a discussion of all those deep and awful emotions that grip her (and us) in a time like this – and you might be the 24th person to ask this question today!  Revisiting those emotions over and over each day – and putting them into words over and over – just makes recovery harder. In fact, our own speech has the single largest impact on our emotions- even larger than the words we hear others say.  This is one reason Paul says, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (or we could just as well say “speak about such things!”) So even though it is second nature to ask this “how are you?” question, consider trying a different approach.

So what do you say when you see mom???
You can’t just pretend nothing has happened!  Maybe better greetings would include “So good to see you…”  “We’ve been missing you…”,  “We’ve been praying for you…”,  “We’ve been praying for Jay…”, “We’ve missed your music…”, “So good to see you playing again…”,  (mom is a musician – organ and piano — and you can probably give this greeting honestly even if you don’t like organ music!”) etc., etc.  Then she can respond “Thank you so much” but not be forced to repeat everything that has happened.  And of course you can always tell mom your favorite Bible text.  These are so encouraging.

What would be best NOT to say.
I would recommend avoiding, “Did you think of this…”, “Did you try that…”, “What about calling so and so…”, “What if you tried…”, “If only…”, etc. etc.  First, mom has not been directing the search or making decisions about what to do next.  Further, almost every imaginable idea and possible solution has already been explored. While those discussions and findings have not been posted on the blog, be assured that the investigation has been both exhaustive and comprehensive.  While these questions or suggestions may be well intentioned, they reopen inappropriate feelings of guilt that maybe she did not do enough. She has those thoughts anyway, and part of the healing process is to get beyond these issues.

What can you say about dad?
You can always say things like “Jay delivered my two kids…”, “He was the best doctor I ever had…” (only if it’s true of course!), or “I loved to hear his health talks – they were so practical!”, or “Jay was so encouraging to me when…” or “Remember that time when…” (recollections of a good memory).

And lastly, this might seem obvious, but don’t speculate on what happened…, “How Jay died…”  We don’t know what happened or how he might have died. At this point we do not even know for sure that he is dead. So these imaginings are never good ones to think on.

Thank you for what you have done.
People have been helping in so many ways.   And the support from everyone, those at home and those far away, has been amazing indeed and truly appreciated.  So, thank you for all your prayers – your encouragement – your friendship.  These mean more than ever in the rough times!

Financial issues.
Many people have called and offered to help financially. Thank you for your offers, but we are able to cover our expenses within the family.  If you wish to contribute in a financial way, Adventist Risk Management is keeping a separate fund for the development of Kyiv Adventist Medical Center. This is the reason that dad went to the Ukraine to begin with. It has been on a bumpy path for the last several years, but has been getting close to opening. If you feel that you would like to help with this project you may make checks payable to:

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
[Mark them as donations to the Kyiv medical center.]

Mail them to:
Att: Bob Kyte
Adventist Risk Management
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring MD 20904


Friday, mid-day

Today does not bring us any new news in finding Dad.
We’ve looked everywhere, followed every clue. We’ve done all we could, but still no word on where Dad might be.

Yet today marks a change in where we are.
Randy wrapped up all the remaining sightings and such yesterday. The park has been searched over two or three days by another even more experienced set of people than ever before. Multiple dogs were brought in to see what they might find, and all these efforts have turned up, essentially, nothing.

Last night, Randy boarded a flight back to the United States and home. We had booked a ticket for Dad on the same flight, and hoped that some new lead, some critical piece of the puzzle would, perhaps, fall into place, and that Dad would be able to come home.

Yet, that ticket we’d held for Dad went unused.

So, where does that leave us?

It leaves us simply not knowing what happened or why. We are told the police and SBU are still pursuing a very active investigation. We still don’t know, with any certainty, if Dad is alive or not, or being held by someone or not.

So, at this point, we let the police investigation run its course. That could be long, or it could be short – we have no way of knowing.

But for now, there’s really not anything left for us to do. We’ve done all we can possibly do ourselves. We have no reasonable approach, left untried, to locate Dad.

I continue to hope. I continue to pray, and wonder if somehow Dad might still come home. I also have my doubts and down days [or even minutes or seconds.] But I’m not turning the corner on Dad yet. I won’t “forget” about him and assume he is dead. Until we have uncontestable proof, I’ll still continue to hope.

I’m not sure how everyone else will view things and I’m content with however they hold it. The way I hold things isn’t the “right” way – it’s just “my way.” We all see things differently, and I may see them differently than I did even ten minutes ago.

But clearly we’re entering a new part of this journey.

Does this mean the journey is over? Does this mean I’m giving up? Does this mean I’m not going to write here any more? Does this mean that we don’t need your care, and enjoy every minute of your company?

The overwhelming answer is emphatically “No!”

We are not done. We have not given up. We will continue to need your support, care, love and companionship. I will continue to write as long as it feeds us both in nourishing ways.

Mom needs you too.

We have more to say…
We have more journey with you…
Won’t you be my neighbor…
Won’t you come along…


PS. I’m likely to post more information and more complete follow-up later today. We would encourage you to check again later today and tomorrow – we’ll have more information and direction on where we go from here.

Also, you might consider adding the blog to an RSS feed. [If you know what such a thing is….] This would allow you to be alerted by the RSS reader when we post up new information, rather than needing to check “manually.”

If there’s enough interest, I can work on a “how-to” on setting up an RSS reader.

Friiday morning…

I’m working on a post, right this very second.

It’s not all baked yet. A little more time in the oven is needed.
Check back in an hour or two. I’ll have something by then.




Wednesday night update

You've all seen this picture before, but it's a really neat picture, so we get to enjoy it again.

You’ve all seen this picture before, but it’s a really neat picture, so we get to enjoy it again.

You’ll have to excuse me a bit. I’ve had a lot less time to proof this than I’d like – but I simply have no more time to spare tonight.

I know that another search of the park is ongoing with dogs and people, and so far nothing has been found to give any indication as to where Dad might be.

More follow-up also occurred with the police and the US embassy.

Finally several more “sightings” were pursued and they turned out to be dead-ends. [I must say that in nearly every case we’ve been offered help, with sightings, offers of assistance etc, they’ve been very generous attempts to help. The people of Kiev have been so wonderful to us, giving of their time and empathy, their care and so very much wishing they could bring Dad back to us. We are so very grateful!]

But the bottom line is that we still have no more idea what happened to Dad than we did yesterday, the day before, or frankly two weeks ago.

So, we continue to hope and pray.

On that note, we have decided that we will spend another day fasting and praying. We’d invite you, if this is something you’re impressed to do also, to join us. From now to tomorrow evening, we will take special time to meditate and consider our relationship to God and to each other.

Please don’t feel you need to join us – we’d love your company in our journey, but we also realize that this particular part of the journey may not be one you feel called to. We respect that, and wouldn’t have you feel we’re calling you to do anything you’re not comfortable with, or don’t feel called to do.

So, I’ve been telling stories, and I’ve been pondering what story I might tell next. I was pretty unsure until I remembered this one…

 Bikes have a long history in our family. I’ve probably incurred more injuries purely on bikes in my childhood than all the rest of my life combined.

And Dad always liked bikes. He even has a tandem bike – that’s a side-by-side tandem. I just saw it this last weekend parked and forlorn…

In case that didn’t make sense I’ll try again – most tandems (a bike two people can ride at the same time) are long, and the two riders sit one behind the other. But this tandem is one where there is one regular short frame with a bunch of odd modifications and two seats, two handlebars etc, all side by side. But this story isn’t about the tandem – I just mention it so you know how much he likes bikes of all kinds, and probably best of all, company on his rides.

Dad tells the story, and I also recall it, that one night we were riding his bike home from some function at the church. The church is about two miles away from home, and it is substantially up-hill all the way home. At both the start and the end of the trip there are steep hills too.

So, it’s very dark out, and I’m riding along on the rack on the back. I was quite young at the time, I’d guess five or six years old. I don’t think that bike child-seats existed back then – so yes, it looked third-world – with me simply sitting on the rack behind Dad’s seat and holding on, so one didn’t slide too far forward or back, or get tipped off the side.

As the rider on the rack, you had to watch your feet too, because if they got swung around, they could go in the spokes and that wasn’t so good for me, the bike, or Dad who was riding it. [Yes, I know that first hand. And yes, it did hurt – quite a bit actually. But that’s not this story, so don’t get me distracted or we’ll never get done!]

So, we’re riding along and it’s very dark – long after the sun had gone down – and evidently I instructed my Dad that he clearly wasn’t going fast enough – and that he needed to go FASTER. [I mean really, I’m sitting on this uncomfortable wire rack, trying to keep my feet from getting munched by the spokes and this is just taking *forever* and we need to get there faster!]

Dad was rather amused, I think, and tried to convince me we *were* going fast. No, said I, this is NOT fast. Dad replied that it WAS fast. We argued about exactly how fast, “fast” was – but Dad insisted that we were speedy. If I recall, I then insisted we needed to go “speed-fast,” and a family phrase was born.

To this day, I’ll still hear about things being “speed-fast.”

Another bike story:

We fairly regularly rode our bikes to Church.  I’m sure this was the trifecta – this way Dad could ruin his good suits and clothes, get his vaunted exercise and enjoy life and cycling all at the same time.

Dad has a way of ruining nice clothes by doing all sorts of unusual things in them.

 I once watched him tear out the inside of his suit-pants leg, all the way from the crotch to the knee, while heaving around a set of ramps we used to load the tractor on the flat-bed truck. The ramp caught the inside of the pant-leg and snagged. Since the ramps were so heavy, the rest was just gravity taking hold. Other pants hems were eviscerated by bike sprockets and chains. Once he tore out a suit-jacket as he ran up the steps at the hospital. As he rushed by the handrail, the end somehow slipped into the suit-coat pocket and the jacket was no match for his momentum.

Thus, the nice clothes wouldn’t be the slightest impediment to riding a bike to church.

As I said in the last story, there is big hill right near the church. Going home, it would be uphill, but going to church would be downhill.

But it’s not all downhill. The main street goes downhill, and then you’d have to make a right turn, climb a short steep hill and arrive at the church, mostly at the top of the ridge.

But, this block has a funny feature. Between the two streets – the downhill and the uphill one – is a street that cuts the block in half, with a quarter-circle. So, if you took the quarter-circle, you’d miss some of the downhill and some of the up-hill. Missing the downhill wasn’t such a great thing, but missing the sharp climb was quite nice – especially with a little boy hanging on the back. [Yes, the same wire rack, same spokes and same precarious perch.]

And if you really got up some speed, you could zoom part way up the steep uphill portion and that would make it easier.

So, we veer right off the main street onto the quarter-circle. But this was spring-time.

 In the winter, on hills, the sand and gravel trucks would come by and drop grimy, sandy grit on the road -which was probably a good thing when it was snowy and icy, but not so good when it wasn’t.

We were going too fast by then, I guess, to make much difference, and so there wasn’t much we could do as we started to slide. The bike is tilted to the right to make the turn, and we’re sliding left. Closer and closer, we get to the left side of the road. We tilt lower and lower, right knees getting closer and closer to the pavement.

Fortunately for our skin and clothes, we slammed laterally into the curb before our bodies started dragging along the pavement.

The force of the impact with the curb was almost exactly equal to the force of the bike and us, and so it simply pitched us straight up again, and then the bike tilted clear over and dumped us onto the lawn on the far side of the curb. It really was a gentle landing in nice luscious, green spring grass.

I fully expected us to just get back on the bike and continue as though nothing had happened – that would be the Jay Sloop way, after all. But such impacts aren’t so kind on bicycle wheels. They looked more like figure eights, than straight and true wheels.

As I recall, no one came out of the houses there to chat with us, like they did the time I lost a lot of skin doing something very similar on this very same corner – so we simply hid the bike in their bushes, [Yes, really!] and walked the two or three blocks to church.

After church we returned in the car to retrieve the mangled bike and head home.

What we remember after times like these is interesting.

On one hand, I remember feeling close, amused and mature, engaging with my father in banter that evening.

 On the other, I couldn’t ever really understand the fascination of biking everywhere where the risk of scraped or mangled body parts was so real to me. I mean, I like riding a bike – but not if I’m going to crash and burn. I suppose the number of times he’d crashed and burned like that was only a few times in thirty or forty years – while mine was a good half-a-dozen over just a few years. So, I’m sure that impacted my perception of the risk involved.

But while I dreaded the bad stuff that seemed so imminent, I recall times spent with Dad that I didn’t get very often. I remember bright sunny mornings – green grass and flowers. I remember the warm night, riding home from some church function, just Dad and I.

And clearly amnesia must have set in, since my daughter can tell you of the many times I’ve come home banged up and bleeding from my adult misfortunes while biking and skating. So, I’ll take the easy way out and claim the daffiness is just genetic.

Well, that’s all I have for tonight.

Thanks for all your kind emails, posts, cards and calls. We love you too.


Tuesday night…

I don’t have an update from Randy for Tuesday…

I do know that on Sunday, they went to the main subway transfer station and held up a poster with a large version of the flyer on it. They would also hand out a regular size one if someone wanted one.

Many people stopped by and expressed their desire to help and offered their condolences. Randy believes that more than 200,000 people went through the stations and would have been able to see their signs.

Randy had a number of appointments today [Tuesday] with various people, but I’m not exactly sure who or what transpired.

But still the bottom line is that we still have not yet located Dad.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts!



Monday night…

It’s been both an “up” day and “down” day for us.

In fact, we can be both up and down, all in the span of probably 90 seconds or so.

But I don’t have time to write. We have not yet located Dad and we continue to search, pray and do our best.

I’ll take time tomorrow to write more.

We thank you for all the nice notes, emails and other ways you have let us know you care.



Sunday afternoon…

A guest at a meal in Serbia – where he was also helping setup medical facilities to care for people’s mental, spiritual and physical well-being.

We don’t have any great news or lots of activity from yesterday. There are few leads on where Dad might be, sightings etc.

Yesterday was a quiet day in the search. Many of you following, are also Adventist, and realize the significance of Saturday to us.

Others of you who are not Adventist may not realize the significance of Saturday for us. [What religious label one puts on people, means little to me. I know there are many who know us, or know Dad and who offer their kind words and thoughts who have no organized religion, or are Baptist, Mormon, Catholic, and a myriad of others – I don’t think God puts much stock in our religious affiliation, and a lot more in where our hearts are, and how we respond to his calling of us.]

So, if you’re not acquainted with Adventists, and Saturday – I’ll just give a short description, so perhaps things make a little more sense. Saturday is, to us, Gods day of rest. If you’re aware of how devout Jews observe Saturday that’s pretty close to our observance of “Sabbath” too. From sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night, we try to step away from the rush and bustle of the world, and take special time to spend with God. That generally means not doing work for our own benefit or profit, and not doing many of the things we’d do any other day of the week.

Again, it’s intended to be a time when we just step out of “regular” work-a-day life to take special time with God to reflect and communicate with him.

Ok, so enough with the mini-theology lesson.

So, Saturday, we tend to step away from the usual work-day events.

This wouldn’t prevent us from looking for Dad, and it didn’t today either. But given that there’s less and less we can do directly, and more and more that the police are doing – we did take less time actively working on the search, and more time with God.

I know that Sergei and his wife, Randy and others spent time walking the area and checking if posters were still up etc.

They also followed up on reported sightings. These can verge into the ridiculous – but they do need follow-up. In one case, a reported sighting was followed up on, and the person reporting having seen Jay Sloop described his appearance as “someone in their 30’s with a beard and smoking.” Randy commented, wryly that being lost a week did the most unbelievable things with your age, appearance and habits. [Dad, being in his late 70’s, clean shaven, and having never smoked in his life. And one would expect to see him torturing puppies or something, before he smoked.]

We have not heard much if anything from the police. We’re not sure if we will hear anything substantial – at least detail wise – so we may not have lots to tell you in the coming days with any real detail.

I’ve been thinking about some times we spent together with Dad and here’s one trip that comes to mind.

Here in Yakima, we spent quite a lot of time in the mountains. We’d go up on the weekends to cross-country ski, or hike – depending on the season. Spending time outdoors in physically tough exertion [read: death-march, by my definition] was “normal.”

One such trip was to Surprise Lake. I don’t believe I’ve been back since this trip, so I’m sure my recollection of it is probably not accurate. But it’s the recollection of the boy-me, I’m guessing 10-12 years old.

It seemed an endless hike, hot, dusty and all while carrying a heavy pack and climbing up, up, up.

The trivia we recall is interesting too: We came across a bull snake eating a frog. A large frog was only partly in the snake’s mouth, with most of the body and legs still hanging out.  I was, and still am, a total softie, and wanted to rescue the frog – but that tendency doesn’t seem as strong in the rest of the family, so I kept my mouth shut. [I don’t care for snakes very much, and like frogs, so that certainly increased my pity for the poor frog.]

However we carried on, and the “death-march” continued. We did eventually arrive in camp, and stayed a couple of nights. [If I recall correctly we went out on Friday and stayed through Sunday morning.]

I don’t recall much of time in camp – I think it was mostly the parts with lots of adversity that I recall best.

So the final morning we were planning to stay rolls around. We start working on breakfast and breaking camp. I may recall this wrong, but I think this is how it happened … we started to eat our hot-cereal [not a Greg favorite anyway] and it just tasted off.

After several queries about what was odd about the cereal, we learned that there had been a complication that was fixed in a particularly Dad-Jay way.

As it turns out, the amount of cereal needed for the trip had been insufficient. So, when Dad added all the cereal to the pot of water he had, it was not enough to thicken the cereal sufficiently and it was like soup. [And I’m sure that wouldn’t have gone over well either.]

So, Dad’s solution? Presto! Add mashed potato flakes and it’s now “normal” – at least in consistency. We were very unimpressed. I’m not sure how much this bothered my brothers, but I am a fairly picky eater. There are certain things you don’t mix together, and foods should NOT be liberally mixed together on the plate either. [They *can* touch, but they shouldn’t be holding hands!]

As you can imagine, this “solution” to runny cereal wasn’t my idea of a “good” fix. As I recall, it wasn’t considered a good fix by either of my brothers.

To this day, Dad still defends his solution by claiming that it couldn’t have been all that bad, since everyone ate their portion. Bah! It was that or nothing, and with a death-march imminent for the return trip, not eating wasn’t one of the better options.

The trip out must not have been quite as bad as the trip in, since I can’t recall much of it. I guess it was downhill.

[I don’t know if everyone else’s mind works as mine does, but it would be nice if all the really good things were what we remember, instead of the bad things. As Charlie Brown says…”Good things last eight seconds, bad things last three weeks.”]

So, we were planning to meet Mom who was going to meet up with us and spend some more time in the area. She was planning on bringing more food and we’d enjoy the rest of the day together.

[For those of you who know Mom, you’ll be fully aware that she isn’t the outdoorsy type. So, she wasn’t along for the backpacking portion of the trip. I’m sure she is eternally grateful, especially after hearing our story.]

I don’t know if Mom was running late, or we were running early, or exactly what happened – but when we got to where we might meet Mom, there was no Mom to meet us. This wouldn’t have typically been much of an issue, except that we didn’t have any food, we were tired and feeling a little put out – at least I was!

We drove to a tiny little store on Highway 12 where there was a pay-phone where Dad could call Mom and see where she was, and when to expect her. [In the days, long before ubiquitous cell phones. (and birch-bark for lunch.)]

While Dad was making the phone-call, I decided to see what was available to eat in the store. I couldn’t have had much money, and given Dad’s focus on good-health and eating right, donuts probably weren’t an option – even if I’d had the money.

So, while I can’t recall much of the thought process selecting my delicacy, I picked the cheapest loaf of plain bread I could find. Though it wasn’t quite doughy white bread, it was certainly close. And no, we didn’t have butter or peanut butter available. It was just going to be the delight of plain slices of bread – one slice, right after the other. But when you’re hungry, even hot-cereal with mashed potatoes mixed in seems palatable! Plain bread, some miles and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of calories later looks positively delicious!

When I arrived back at the car, I was horrified to find my brother Randy – who seems to have little care for how something tastes and isn’t the slightest bit picky about what he’s fed – had gotten out the dry cup-o’soup packets, and was finishing up dumping the dry powder into his mouth!

Gulp, cringe, shut-my-eyes to shield myself from the sight! To make things even worse, it was split-pea soup! I hated peas – I can still remember gagging and feeling I was absolutely going to die, one time when Dad felt I needed to eat some. The flavor is horrible, they pop in your mouth, the consistency is awful – ugh!

So, Randy was dumping dry soup powder, split-pea no less, into his mouth and eating it. His lips were a nice, very attractive, powdered, blotchy green.

<Shudder!> It still gives me the willies thinking about it.

Well, when I arrived on the scene with a nice fresh loaf of bread, it was amazing how friendly my brothers became.  It’s a shame I didn’t think of the “Jacob and the birthright story” in the bible just then, because that could have been a very good return on a measly loaf of bread.

In a very few minutes, the loaf of bread was gone.

But even more amazing was Dad. I don’t recall if he got back to the car before the whole loaf of bread was consumed or not – but I do absolutely recall what he brought back.

As I’ve said, Dad was pretty serious about eating right. And since he didn’t fix our meals, I just never considered what he might bring from the store for us to eat. [Figs and parched corn, perhaps? Something “healthy” was likely in any case.]

I still remember being astonished that he bought CANDY BARS for us. I didn’t see it as a fancy candy-bar, just “Big Hunk.”  But my Dad, having purchased a candy-bar?! A candy bar for me to eat?! I’m not sure it could have been any more startling if the angel Gabriel had stopped by to give it to me! Yeah, a candy-bar, from Dad! Unthinkable!

We ate the bread and candy-bars and eventually Mom showed up with even more attractive food.

But I still remember the mashed potatoes, the green powdered lips, the loaf of bread and the candy-bars!

And it’s surprising how the little things stick in our minds, and how we can sometimes break the way we see each other, and act in new, delightful and surprising ways.

So, do something nice, new and thoughtful for those you love and care for today.

We continue to search and pray. We ask that you keep Dad in your thoughts and prayers too. If someone is holding him, I hope they take him doughnuts today.

We will leave it in God’s hands – he’s in charge.


Saturday evening update…

(The “pillow” and “blanket” are fiberglass props – that’s no softie pillow Dad’s sitting on.)


I don’t have a substantial update for you today – not enough time, and too little remaining brain-power to crank out something better.

So, I’ll simply stick with the bare minimum.

No great news – we still have not found Dad.

We followed up some reported sightings and spent some time walking areas around the place we know where Dad last was. There were a some other things done – but that’s the general feel of it.

I’ll take more time tomorrow to write some more.

This is really, totally and completely in God’s hands. Realizing we are powerless and that God is the one in control is hard – but it’s clear we’re not going to solve this ourselves. So, we keep asking for his intervention, and to help us realize his direction and the will to follow where he leads.



Friday mid-day…

Dad in Kiev, before he disappeared.

Dad in Kiev

So, as I said in my mini post, much has changed.

Right at the top, let me say that just about 24 hours ago, Randy went down to the police station and had a chat with the lieutenant who is in charge there.

Randy, and those with him, were rather startled to hear that the police have changed the classification of the case to a criminal one. They have decided this isn’t a missing person case. They said believe that this is either a kidnapping or a murder.

More importantly, Randy was told that this wasn’t just a local police matter now, but had been upgraded to a state case and that the SBU [what was the KGB years ago] was involved now.

Randy said there was a stack of documents on the table, and that the officer said this was the file on the case. I’m not sure why, but Randy wanted to take a photo of the cover sheet, and they said he could.

I’m not sure what to think. I like that they are taking the case more seriously and that, evidently, many more resources are available, and that we’ve turned a corner. But I don’t exactly like the sound of “criminal case.” Yeah, who would.

Randy and the people from the Union office and volunteers have been following up all the fragments of information they have had – reports, rumors, claimed sightings etc.

These have, repeatedly, turned up nothing credible.

We are continuing to gather video feeds and review them.

We look forward to the state security services aggressively putting the resources that the state has, which are vastly more than we have [save God] to work in figuring out what happened and getting Dad back to us.

So, as long as I’ve been telling stories, let me talk a bit more about REI and down-jacket related events.

Dad hasn’t been doing any mountaineering for a while now. I get altitude sickness so easily and that’s no fun, so I’ve not been climbing for quite some time either.

But “back-in-the-day” we did climb together more than a few times. [Yeah, I know, “back-in-the-day” we had to walk to school, barefoot, in the blowing snow, uphill both ways with only birch-bark for lunch. Well, it’s not quite that kind of story.]

We’ve climbed Mt. Hood, a couple of times together. I have a large [probably 18×20”] print that Dad gave to me of me standing in the sunset on Mt Hood. It’s a beautiful print and a very nice picture. It’s framed and hanging up in our house.

Well, that trip [at least I think it was that trip] was rather exciting.

We’d decided to sleep on the mountain, mid way up. Hood is really a one-day climb for the south-side – but I tend to feel less sick if I have more time acclimatizing and it’s a shorter day if you don’t do it all in a single day. [Good for older men and wimps like me.]

We got up and it looked like a reasonable day. A reasonable day in the northwest, on the mountains is a day when it’s not raining, blowing 50+ mph and not too cold or ugly.

So we started climbing. Clouds covered the top section of the mountain and we thought this would clear as the day progressed. In any case, we’d just come back if it got too bad. [Yeah, right.]

Well, it didn’t get any better, and in a few hours we were going up the summit chutes, which are not too far from the very top in what seemed like a hurricane.

The wind was howling, we were in the clouds and could barely see the ground. There was so much moisture in the air, it would condense and freeze on everything – making what is called rime ice. It would even condense on your eyelashes and if you blinked, the two sets of eyelashes; bottom and top, would then freeze together and you couldn’t re-open your eyes. Goggles would help with this, but we didn’t want to stop to fish them out. So, you’d just pull your hand out of your glove and melt and pull the ice off your eyelashes and you’d be good to go, at least for a few more minutes.

Why we didn’t turn around, I’m not sure. It’s that allure of the summit, I guess. I’m sure it’s caused more than a few accidents and induced bad judgment in lots of climbers. Perhaps one could claim we used bad judgment too, I’m just not sure – you generally think you’ve done fine, until something goes wrong.

Well, we did reach the summit and while you couldn’t see a thing – not even the ground under your feet – we were happy we reached the summit.

So we started down. But white-gray snow, white-gray sky, white-gray clouds and wind at unbelievable levels makes for vertigo – where does the sky and clouds end and the ground begin? The wind had been blowing us up the chutes to the summit. Now it was blowing directly in our faces. Even though we were now going down, one almost had to exert effort to go down against the wind.

Well, a long 30-45 minutes later, and after having gone somewhat off-course in our trek down, we break out of the clouds. I now know, first hand, how easy it can be to get lost on Mt. Hood.

We gathered our tent and other gear we’d left behind at camp and trailed out to the car many feet below us.

It was nice to spend some time with Dad. I’m not as much a mountaineering kind of person as Rick – I’m certainly not up to the insane levels of torture he goes through. But it was a way Dad and I could do something together. We both love the mountains – especially mountaineering and being out in the brilliant, sparkling, awe-inspiring mountains. The snow soaks up the sound, and it’s so very different, even when you’re in the same place, sans snow and ice.

This is one of only a few climbing experiences we had together and it was a good one. Sure, sitting in the sun on the lawn probably would have been a lot more pleasant – probably a lot safer too. But Dad wasn’t the kind to pick “safe” over what he thought was important. [He certainly wasn’t the one to shy away from pushing you through the hard-stuff he thought would help make you stronger and better, no matter how much complaint and whining he heard. I’m pretty sure there’s more than a few of you who experienced that – at least the pushing part, I’m probably the only one who whined so much. (I’m sure the brothers would confirm the whining part! {and look, nested parenthetical asides! that’s my specialty}) ]

Dad is, and was, the kind who wasn’t easy on himself, when he felt something needed to be done. He didn’t give others the easy way out either. He’d tell you fairly bluntly what you ought to be doing – he wasn’t bossy, but he wanted to make a difference, he wanted to help. He cared a lot. Going to the Ukraine and the many, many hours he donated to helping people change the way they lived and their health, spiritual and physical were just part of who Dad is and was.

You couldn’t steer him away from what he felt was right. Sometimes it was not the best idea – like climbing Hood in that weather – but he always pushed himself as much as anyone – probably more. But he would push you pretty hard too.

We’re different in that way – but I know he pushed me and others because he cared, and he cares a lot!

So, this experience in Kiev is just a lot like the way he lived and loved those around him. It’s tough. It’s hard, and we’re beyond where we wish we were – we’d rather be sitting on the lawn in the sun sipping a cool drink and enjoying the leisure.

But he would be still thinking about all the stuff that he wanted to get done, all the ways he could help you be a better self, and how he wanted everyone to know, see and feel the God he saw.

I know others have said it, but we’ve also thought it and commented among ourselves – if Dad is being held by someone, one can be sure they’re hearing about Dad’s loving, caring God – and that he’s doing his best to push them to live a better life too – regardless of how scary or hard that might be. I hope, if that’s the case, that he’s more tactful than he’s been with me at times. He may be right, but sometimes he’s less than the most gentle in expressing it.

[Remind me to tell you about the patient who had been out snowmobiling and claimed that was “exercise.” Tact, and gentle? Hmmm.]

So, please – continue to pray. We know that God is able to bring about *any* outcome. We will do our best to help, and do our part. But though God doesn’t need reminding, please let us keep doing it anyway. I think he’ll handle our “whining” better than Dad did.


Posted 2013/05/24 10.45a PT / 8.45p Kiev time

Friday morning…

Lots has changed since my last post. I didn’t want you to think we’d gone away – but I need to take a few minutes to organize some things – so rather than completely leave you hanging while I do so, here’s a intsta-update

1) We have not yet found Dad.
2) Lots has changed.

I’ll be back in the next few hours with a more complete update.


Posted 2013/05/24 6.45a PT

Wednesday – end of day.

Dad in cat's mouth

It has been a really busy day here, a bilzzard of emails [though it’s been that way for quite some time] and trying to manage some of my “normal” life…

Dad was a “dog person” so perhaps that’s why he’s “growling” in the picture above. But they took this picture somewhere in Kiev this trip. And that green jacket, well it’s a feathered friends jacket. The reason I know is I have one too.

So, let me tell you a story – it’s not that interesting, but probably a lot more fun than recounting that we don’t have any good news today.

So, the jacket. Well Feathered Friends is probably one of the very best places to get real down outdoor gear. Sleeping-bags, jackets etc. They started many years ago right next to the old REI store. You know the one that smelled of creosote and tar, and was an old rickety haphazard building – before they built the new glass and steel one. Back before they started selling t-shirts and espresso machines.

Well, I’d been looking at one of their jackets and eventually I got one. [From Feathered friends, not REI.] They’re not exactly cheap, but for what you get, they are really quite reasonable. [800+ fill down is “typical” which is quite amazing, if you know about goose down.]

Well Dad saw mine and was impressed. Down captures heat really, really well. Practically the instant you put it on, you can feel it keeping you warm. That’s really nice on the summit of some cold and windy peak – just after you’ve stopped climbing and your sweat is about to turn to ice, and you shiver yourself to pieces!

So, dad decided he wanted one too. But he, I think, bought one that was too warm. If I recall correctly, that one has a completely down insulated hood too. It was practically like wearing a sleeping bag! Which was great if it was really cold, but would turn into a sauna if it was above 50 F or so.

But that neon lime *green*? Ouch! I never heard, but I hope he got some kind of killer deal for that green color!

So, it’s neat and sad all at the same time – seeing that jacket. It was a small thing – a tiny shared bit of experience. But it’s those little things you remember and that touch you.

Ok. well enough stories, eh? Then, back to the salt mines we go.

Today Randy asked for more video feeds. We’ve looked at the map of where they are situated and if we can get most of what we want, I suspect that will be pretty helpful. I’ve seen snippits of it, and it’s “odd” seeing Dad, knowing that just minutes later he disappears. [It’s also odd how you don’t even need to see a person’s face to know who it is. The way we walk and move – even such ordinary things are still unique. When you see it, you just know.]

Randy went to visit the US Embassy, since he hadn’t talked to any of them in-person since arriving here. Jeff had visited, but not Randy. Randy wanted to ask if they could assist in moving the police any faster. I don’t think they were terribly hopeful. I think the general consensus was that the Ukraine police simply move at the pace they move.

The embassy has been extremely helpful and welcoming. They’ve taken our needs seriously and really done as much as they could to help. It seems that they simply don’t have enough leverage to get the police to do more. [I wonder if someone at higher levels of the state department could do more. Does anyone out there know John Kerry, or William Burns etc?! You could just send them a friendly note and ask if they’d see what they could do to motivate the Ukrainians. 🙂 ]

We still can’t get the video feeds the police have, so we’re moving forward at getting our own and simply trying to live without the resources that the police should provide. We’re not leaving anything out, that we might be able to do, to find Dad.

We’re trying to ensure that we haven’t somehow missed him leaving Zamkova park – even though we’ve seen the camera feed that is near that entrance.

These are motion sensitive cameras so there isn’t a continuous feed. The camera, in general, turns on and off only when it “sees” movement in the central portion of the frame. So, as movement moves out of the center of the frame and moves away, the camera may stop unless something else has entered the frame and keeps the camera recording. So, it is certainly possible, depending on the view and other factors that you might not see everything “interesting” there was to see. So, more cameras and more views increases our certainty about exactly where we think Dad went.

Tomorrow will bring more effort to get additional video and closely look at the new video we have already obtained but haven’t yet had a chance to look at.

The verse that’s been in my head for days now is:”Not by might, nor by power, but by my will” says God.
And impatient me says, “Ok God, I get it, but could you hurry it up a bit, please.”

Man, is that ever hard.
More tomorrow.



Posted 2013/05/22 10p PT

Tuesday night…

Tuesday was spent reviewing more camera feeds, and talking with those who might have visited the park around the time Dad went missing. They got a chance to talk to some people, and have others they would like to talk to.

They also took time to search some unoccupied buildings that are on the opposite side of the park, away from the entrances. The students that were helping search were fabulous, not having been told what they would be doing and not being dressed for this kind of activity. But they gamely went on and looked through the buildings seeing what they could find.

In the afternoon, The Hope Channel in Ukraine did a press conference today – Randy and several others had a chance to talk about what Dad was there to do, what he was there to help with, and about the search for Dad.

Later, they also spent some time talking to the police and answering more questions they had. The police wanted to get the video feeds that Jeff and the volunteers had gathered for the Union office. But the police have refused to give us the video feeds they have, claiming they need the authorization from a supervisor. But we’ve been asking for this data for days – it’s frustrating how slow and unmotivated the police seem.

While the police have been helping more, it still seems pretty tepid. It is better than it was, but it still seems as much for show as for actually accomplishing things. Much of what is done seems not very thorough, almost haphazard. We wish we knew what to do to really motivate the police to cooperate and step up and work with us closely, instead of doing what appears to be the bare minimum of work and minimal cooperation.

Some time was spent looking at other places that Dad had walked in the past, and though we have absolutely no evidence he was there last Tuesday, we felt it wise to check those places again. None of these are close to the areas that Dad was seen on the security cameras on Tuesday.

They did get a call, late in the day by someone who wanted to share their CCTV feed. But after arriving and getting things setup, they discovered that they didn’t have last Tuesday’s video because it only holds onto a week before overwriting. But Randy says they so wanted to help, and even though the trip was no real help, the warmth and intent of the people to assist and their empathy so clear – he was very touched at the gesture. Even for no real progress, Randy says “…the trip was worth the effort.” [Have I mentioned how frustrating it is, not to have the police assisting in gathering these from many locations in the area, long before now!]

There were a couple of talks they had with people who said they had seen people who had been injured around the date and time Dad disappeared. They had evidently called in to let us know they might be able to help. Yet, after talking to them, it was clear that these incidents were unlikely to have any relationship to Dad’s disappearance. One case the person injured was much younger than Dad, and the other didn’t match in other respects.

Along with many others, Randy & I both fasted and prayed. We appreciate those who joined us. It is a tough choice to make and it is one that you need to make, not as a bargain with God, or because you “should,” but because you believe in your heart that God is asking you to focus on him and his might, not your “awesome” blogging skills or some other “greatness” we bring to the situation.

God’s goodness, his will, and how we can work with God, instead of how he can work around us, should be our focus. What small talents we bring to a task, God can use to much effect, if we put that effort where he wants us to.

But it’s hard letting someone else be in charge, isn’t it? As I’ve said before – when you watch someone else do something, you always feel you know better, have some better angle, and if “they’d just do it this way” all would be better. And I’m sure I do the same with God – probably nearly every day. So, taking time to really talk to God to spend time pondering your congruence with his plan and letting him bend us, if that’s needed, is a good, if less than pleasing, thing.

We continue to follow up on the information we have, and move forward, even when we don’t seem to have a lot of great options.

We are, however, frustrated with the tepid response of the police and wish we know what more we could do to move that area forward. Private individuals and volunteers have done virtually all the hard lifting so far. So it’s hard to feel that, were the police serious, they could bring a lot more resources to bear on this situation.

Continue to pray for us, and for the involvement of the police – we could so use their help, now as much as ever. Pray for wisdom and that we would find God’s way, not our way. Pray for those who have influence over the police and other government resources. And pray for each of the wonderful volunteers who have sacrificed so much of their time and energy. We’d have practically nothing without the kind-hearted people of Ukraine.

Thanks again!


Posted 2013/05/21 11p PT [2013/05/22 9a Kiev Time]

Tuesday evening…

Well, I’m not keeping up my duties very well am I. Alas, I’m trying. [I’ll do better boss, I promise!]

Well, Randy sent another update some hours ago. No good news to report. There’s lots of interesting things – and I’ll come back and give you a fuller story – but I simply don’t have the time right now. [Rachelle has been complaining that her Daddy is busy in front of the computer far too often – and since I spend a lot of time there normally, you can imagine it’s quite a bit worse than “normal.”]

Each post of even moderate size can take well over an hour to write, and proof and re-write and re-proof etc. Longer posts are probably at least two hours of work. And I don’t have an hour at this moment.

So, I guess the appropriate idiom would be…
You are just going to get a lick and a promise.

I’ll try to be back before 10p PT and follow-up. But no guarantees, refunds or returns allowed. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, etc.

Thanks for understanding.


Tuesday AM

SloopJayHighRes-200x300Jay Sloop, Missing
Kiev Ukraine, 2013/05/14


It was just one week ago, today that we got the call that Dad [Jay] was missing.

I’d like to take some time reflecting on what’s happened in the last week, on how that’s changed each of us, and on how many lives Jay has touched, and now, on how many lives have touched his in the outpouring of care, love, time, and resources to find him.

But that reflecting will have to wait some. I simply don’t have the time, right now, to do that. So, I’ll update you on what’s happened and what we anticipate doing today.

It’s nearing the end of the day in Kiev, but I haven’t had any chance to discuss what’s occurring since late yesterday with Randy or Jeff.

One of the people with Dad suggested another scenic park nearby Zamkova – and we thoroughly searched that yesterday, along with some other locations, without any significant results. These searches were done by about 25 seminary students who have given large portions of their day, both yesterday and Sunday to come do some pretty miserable work. While I’m told we treated them with ice-cream, it’s got to be the lousiest deal ever for some ice-cream. We thank them for their care and time from the deepest part of our hearts.

The police evidently brought an air-scenting dog to search the Zamkova park to see if it could find any localized source of Dad scent.

There are quite a number of different techniques for using dogs and scents, and I don’t know about, or understand them all. Thus I’m not entirely sure what the capability of the dog is/was. I would assume that the dog would potentially be able to find something of Dad’s left behind – say a piece of clothing, or if Dad were concealed somewhere in the park. This would be different than a “tracking” dog which would attempt to follow scent left behind to find the intended person.

As I understand it, only very small portions of the park could be covered with this search – if I recall correctly, a dog like this is only effective for something like four to six hours or so. With a single dog, and limited time, you have to try to check the most likely locations – but for a park this size, that’s a tiny portion.

Early in the morning, Monday they went out to identify additional security cameras that *might* offer additional details. Getting the camera feeds has been difficult, but it is something they are working on.

The police seem to have turned the corner into really getting involved – I suspect the media attention had helped. Yesterday there were police involved in searching small areas of the Zamkova park, yet again. They were also involved in asking for the security camera feeds. [Up to now, as I understand it, the camera feeds have all been obtained by private individuals simply asking the camera owner, nicely, if they would share it.]

I know there have been multiple efforts to talk to people who visit the park during the morning hours when dad was last seen. There was an attempt yesterday to talk to people we saw in the video who visited the park right near the time Dad visited on last Tuesday.

There were two media interviews yesterday. One was for a paper [Kiev post] that seems like a good solid paper, less interested in sensationalism and more interested in doing a reasonable presentation of the story. The other was for the largest TV channel, and while it’s nice to have coverage, it’s also hard to live with the desires and financial incentives that drive ratings and sensational reporting.

And again, we’ve been observing a day of prayer and fasting. If you joined our invitation, thanks! The very fact that you’re here reading this means you probably care and we appreciate your care and the great efforts that are being put forth to help.

It’s almost 8p in Kiev right as I type this. Hopefully I’ll have more details to give a bit later in the day.


Posted 2013/05/21 10a PT

Monday – end of day update

Posted Monday, 1p Pacific time/ 11p Kiev time. [2013/05/20]

I’m sure I’ll be back to follow this post up, but I thought I’d get up a few things, very quickly.

We are now just shy of one week since Dad disappeared. That’s a distressing mark of time…

I just spent nearly an hour talking to Jeff and then Randy. There’s really nothing new to report today. They have continued searching more places that are possibilities for where Jay might have gone. They have done a number of news interviews; TV and papers. They continue to put up flyers/posters. Jeff says they are ubiquitous – just *everywhere*.

But let me take a break from the recitation of facts and details to make a request from each of you.

Randy has said that the churches in Kiev have all made a request that their members fast and pray for 24 hours. They started about three hours ago – at 8p Kiev time.

Randy would like me to ask you, those who can and who find it in their hearts, to join us.

We certainly don’t want to ask you to do this, if this isn’t something you believe in. This is between you and God. But we would be honored to have you join us.

Thanks to all for your help.
Thanks for all your friendship.
Thanks for all your care.

-Greg [and all the rest of the family.]

Update – Monday plans

Posted Sunday 7.30p PT / 5.30A Kiev time

It’s about 5a in Kiev, and I just got some updates – this time from Randy.

He’s been really thankful and impressed with all the generous help we’ve been getting.

He says words like “tremendous” and “spectacular” and I know he’s right. He contacted the hospitals, in person this time, and it seems they feel a bit overwhelmed, kind of like the Embassy.  “The hospital and morgues have been contacted so many times, that they know the story by heart.

He says they have been following up on every lead possible, every sighting.
Someone had claimed to see Dad in one of the Cathedrals. Randy went there and spoke with the head rector, and everyone on the staff. They even assisted by calling the staff that were not there yesterday and talking to them too.

I’m told that as many as 50,000 flyers are being prepared to be posted around Kiev, along with the 5000+ already out there. Fifty thousand! [His name might just be on every lip, at least in Kiev, before this is over! When they say “Jay Sloop” it sounds really funny to our ears though. 🙂 ]

Jay’s disappearance has been in the news numerous times there and we’re told that there will be another story tomorrow – a human interest story, I’m told.

While we don’t have any new leads, tomorrow we will continue to investigate all the places Jay was known to visit while out walking etc. One friend of his recalled another place they had walked and we plan to check that location thoroughly – it’s fairly close to the park we have already searched.

So, Monday will be another incredibly busy day. It looks like it will be a warm [but not too hot] day, with little to no rain, at least until tonight. That should be a help for people who are outside.

I’m sure I’m missing some things – but I can always come back and post later.

Keep everyone, the lost and the searchers, in your prayers. We all need it.



Sunday afternoon (US, pacific time) / Sunday evening (Kiev time) Update

Posted About 3p, 2013/05/19

Yup, you are wearing out that refresh button.

No, I don’t have a lot of news to impart. I certainly can’t say that they found Dad and everything is good with the world. <sigh>

So, let me first say – Thanks to all the people who have offered their time today and yesterday. We were thrilled by the response to our request for interpreters.

I don’t know exactly how many interpreters we had helping us on Sunday – but Alex came, with a car and his snazzy language skills and made our lives a lot easier. [Thanks Alex!]

I also shouldn’t forget the many, many others who have helped in millions of other ways. It’s easy to focus on a few individuals, and then forget all the others who help in less noticeable ways. I wish I could name each one of you individually, and give you a hug and a smile. I hope my generic one-size-fits-all “Thanks!” will help you know we appreciate even the smallest contribution to the effort. [Even though that’s a lot less than you deserve!]

Огромное спасибо нашим украинским друзьям! Вы были невероятно!

We still need interpreters – and as we get into the working week, I suspect we’ll need more than are actually available. So, if you are able to translate [Russian/Ukrainian/English] that would be a great help. If you would please contact me [] I’ll forward the offer on to the people in Kiev and they will contact you. Please give us an email address and a good phone number where we can reach you. We won’t publish your name, email address or phone number if you post it to the comments section either, I promise.

I think the plan for the day on Monday in Kiev is to search or re-search the parks near-by that Dad was known to visit. [Excluding Zamkova park.] I suspect they may have been covered before, but we’ll look again – searching extra carefully in every place possible.

I have not heard explicitly, but I think all the hospitals were visited today and there wasn’t any sign of Dad there. [This was, at least, our second check, and this one was in person.]

Lack of sleep seems to have caught up to me, so I’m not as productive today as I might be. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on where things stand and what we’re planning – at least when I can.

I’ll try to post twice a day – generally coinciding with the start and end of the day in Kiev. [That’s generally around 8-10p and 10a-noon – pacific time.]



Follow-up Saturday afternoon, US Time

So, I know there’s a host of you that really loved dad – you’ve posted loving comments and the number of people who have reached out is really amazing. Thanks!

So, we know you love us – but I’ve heard that you [at least *some* of you] have been telling the US Embassy about how much you love Jay too. So many and so often, in fact, that they say they are overwhelmed. Wow! So, it’s a good thing to be loved, but a bad thing to overwhelm the embassy switchboard. 🙂

If it isn’t clear enough yet – I’ll say it clearer. Please, don’t call the embassy. They are being really wonderful in reaching out to assist. I, personally, know they sent numerous people to assist in the search of the park on Friday. They’ve been great in responding to our inquiries and following up with us. So, know that we’re very happy with the US embassy, and bugging them won’t bring more help, more quickly. It will only cause disruptions. Thanks so much for listening!

So, now lets play a little more of the game, “Have you thought of..!?”

“Have you checked the hospitals and morgues?”
Yes, we have talked to the hospitals. But, in your defense, we did it by phone. Now that we’ve searched the park and have time to turn to a few other items, we plan to actually visit each, in person. It’s not likely anything was missed in the calls, but a personal visit may help us feel a bit more certain.

“Have you checked bodies of water.”
Well, since there aren’t any bodies of water, moving or otherwise, near any of the places were we thought Jay might have gone missing – the answer would be no. Now that the number of places we are likely to search is changing, I suppose that might change as well. But to date, we’ve not had any potential places in water to search.

“Do you think there’s too much/too little media coverage?” or “What do you think of what XYZ media outlet said.”
Well, I’m not sure what to say. One side of me says – until my Dad is back and home with my Mom, if it takes having his name on every single person on planet earth’s lips, that is fine by me. The other side of me doesn’t want to offend anyone – whispers in my ear, “why is your Dad so special?” I mean really, there are are so many that need attention, help and care. Why the special treatment for my Dad?

While that’s a *huge* discussion – I guess I’ll say – I’m glad lots of people care and want to help. I’m terribly touched at the outpouring of support and care. I certainly don’t want to lose touch with the fact that none of us is owed this kind of care and love from anyone else. But it IS really very, very nice to have it. So, we’re glad to have his name in the news, and we want to get all the help we can.

On the other hand, we know how unreliable the “news” can be. I know some of the reports I’ve seen are wrong in numerous respects. But that’s part of the price for coverage – so we’ll grimace when we find inaccuracies and hope for better.

I know, I’ve had a little amusement at the questions we’ve gotten – and I really don’t intend to mock anyone. I know you’re all trying to help and trying to think of something, anything that we might not have thought of – just trying to do *anything* to help. So thanks. We know, just like calling the embassy, that you care and want to help – that’s why you write, ask questions, give suggestions and drown the embassy switchboard. We love you too!

I’m working on summarizing what we think we’ll be doing to find Dad for the next day in my next post. Hopefully I’ll have something for you in the next few hours.

Again, thanks for all the kind words and thoughts. It helps keep our spirits up during the long wait.


Needs for Sunday and beyond…

I don’t have any more information to add, however I can relate a need:

We could use translators, in Kiev, that can speak both English and Ukrainian.

It is important that these individuals be fluent in both languages. [We don’t want someone with only fairly limited skills.] We need these people in Ukraine, not here in the US.

Also, people with vehicles for transportation would be good – again only in Kiev.



This will be very brief.

I have not talked to anyone in Kiev since the very end of the day yesterday. It’s late afternoon/early evening there as I write this and Jay still has not been found.

I’m not sure what the focus was going to be today. I know that we were expecting to get many church members out and canvass the area around the Union office some more. I also know that there was a plan to talk to people entering the park during the early morning hours to see if we could gather any more information that way. But other than that, I don’t have more details.

As I said yesterday – when you’re thousands of miles away, you always want more information, and wish you knew more. It’s just the way of things, and we’ll just have to get used to feeling that way – because I doubt that the way I feel, or the amount of information I get, is likely to change. 🙂

Several answers to questions regularly asked:

1) Have you tried dogs?
Dogs were evidently used, early in the search, several days ago. But since it’s rained several times, they wouldn’t be useful for tracking someone. I know they have been considered again, attempting to find if Jay were in a spot we couldn’t see, but the dog could smell. [Think air-scenting vs tracking dog.] I don’t know what ultimate decision has been reached, but I think that most of these kinds of working dogs are in the hands of the police, or disaster services and I don’t believe the full weight of these government services have been available to us. [And no, I don’t think any of us here on this side of the world really know why. I’m not sure any of the people in Kiev know why either. This has seemed to change a bit over the last day or so, so perhaps this will be a more viable option soon.]

2) Did he have a cell-phone or GPS?
No, he didn’t have a cellphone or GPS with him. While he took his phone with him to Ukraine, he didn’t use it in-country that I’m aware of. You know, “old guys” just aren’t as driven to SIM unlock their phones and get a local SIM so they can text all their friends and take calls on the sidewalk and every where else. Plus, since he used Skype to talk to people back home, there just wasn’t as much need. It is too bad that’s the case, because it would have given us a lot of great tracking data – but alas, it’s not to be.

3) Has a reward been offered?
This has been considered, and at least early on, the best expert advice I could get seemed to indicate that this would likely result in more information and leads, but that it would also likely greatly increase the amount of inaccurate information too. Generally it was felt that it would likely do more harm than good. Since there’s an expert on site now, we tend to defer to his advice, and I am not aware if this has been discussed recently.

So that’s all I have for this morning. I’ll see if I can get more detail without hindering the work that’s going on.

Oh, and while I’ve left this to last, as an aside, it’s not a side issue for me … Many have asked how Mom is doing.

As you might imagine – she’s extremely worried. She wants more detail, and is terribly anxious as each hour, day, and probably minute, passes. But I’m amazed at how well, considering the situation, she has done. She appreciates the thoughts you’ve sent via email and comments here, and knowing how she and Dad have touched peoples lives, and that you care. So thanks. We all appreciate it.

Again, I’ll come back with more information as I have it.