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.


27 thoughts on “Wednesday night update

  1. Jessica

    Thank you so much, Greg, for the updates. I know I echo many thoughts when I say I wish I could do something for your family. I fasted and prayed with you last time you fasted, and I plan to do the same tomorrow. I registered for a lifestyle medicine conference today—somehow I think Dr. Sloop would have liked that. I have a memory of him when I was in nursing school and living at Total Health. Dr. Sloop asked me to take the blood pressure of one of the Total Health guests as he was walking on the treadmill. It was a little challenging because of the motion of his arm swaying with him walking, and I was embarrassed to be doing anything medical in front of Dr. Sloop, because I respected him so much and felt so inadequate with him watching me. I tried to get out of it, but Dr. Sloop told me “Jessica, everybody at some point needs to decide if they are going to be mediocre or excellent.” I often have thought of that through the years, and sometimes catch myself thinking that Dr. Sloop would like that because I am choosing which I want to be. He has had a big impact on my life, probably without him even knowing it. I wish I could get to know him better.

  2. Barbara Blake

    I think your dad had a unicycle too! 🙂 Gardell and I continue to remember you all in prayer.

  3. Sue Patzer

    You are a super writer. Thank you for taking the time. The stories make us know, love and respect him even more. The news helps us know how to pray. The NPUC office family continues to pray with and for you all.

  4. Donna Thomas

    I know Greg you dont remember me ,you were just a little boy when i last saw you . I have been a friend of the family for a long time .
    I just want you and all the wonderfull people over there to know Jay has been in my thoughts and prayers . from day 1, I only wish I could help do something for you all .
    Thank you for keeping all of us updated. Im in Ricks Sabbath school class. And he keeps us informed too.
    Remember we all love you and Jay. May God be with you . Donna

  5. KW

    Maybe your Dad is a modern day Enoch…. “And Enoch walked with God and he was not; for God took him.” Gen. 5:24

    Praying and fasting for some lead/clue….better yet a find or resolution.

  6. Dennis Crane

    May you continue to know more comfort and great hope in the promises given in His words.
    Matthew 5 (CJB)
    [5] “How blessed are the meek!
    for they will inherit the Land!*
    [8] “How blessed are the pure in heart!
    for they will see God.
    [16] In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

  7. Madeline Johnston

    I don’t know you personally, but I’ve been interested in your situation since reading about it early on, and have been following your blog, hoping each day that it will report a sudden, happy ending. Keep up your faith and courage. I just wanted to let you know there is one more person thinking of you all and praying for all of you and your dad.

  8. Paula Cobleigh

    Thank you so much for the continued updates and the stories. Even though I do not know your father, I feel like I am getting to know him through what you write. I only know Rick (and have only spoken with him a few times). But your family has a reputation for being such good people. I’ve never heard a bad word spoken.
    Anyway, I just thought you should know that for every comment that you get here in your blog, there are many more who are silently reading what you write and hoping that your dad is found soon! We are praying for you and your family.

  9. Jeana Johnson

    Dr. J is one of the most genuine and kind hearted men I have known. Worked with him for years at YVMH in labor and delivery. Have been following this and praying for a safe return “HOME”.

  10. Jennifer Snyder

    Thinking about your Dad today. I hope the day of fasting and prayer brings you some clarity.

  11. Brent Hardinge

    I fondly remember the “Buddy Bike” your dad had. As a kid, I was fascinated by the idea of a side-by-side tandem. He eventually brought one to Total Health, where I spent many hours riding that crazy bike with friends.

    Thank you for your stories and updates. We are praying daily for your father and each of you as well.

  12. H. H. Hill

    I so remember the years workiing with Jay in trying to make Total Health the success it deserved to be. He and all the team were total optomists. and I contine to feel there was one further strategy that might have worked. But now my thoghts are on what might be done to find Jay. That is now of supreme importance!! I signed in this morning hoping for further word, but none since this message – but our prayers continue!!! Blessings to all of you as you endure with the faith and courage your beloved Dad and husband lived so boldly, consistently and creatively [evevn to putting potato flakes into cereal]!!! Even that takes faith and courage when feeding teenager!!

    Thanks for keeping us up-to-date and sharing stories that show dimensions of your family life we have no right to know, but so dearly loved reading.


  13. Rhonda Bolton

    I was a patient at Total Health in 1991 when I first met your dad. I’ve been following your posts with interest (and appreciation for them), hoping and praying for the best. Your dad positively impacted many lives, including mine, with the practical application of the health message. My take-away from the 10 days I spent there was “The people who walk the most get better the fastest.” That message was tested a few years later when I went to take care of my mother. In cleaning up the church property for their centennial, my dad and she were clearing out brush and mangled trees when a tree fell on Mom. She couldn’t immediately move anything from the neck down. The little hospital where she was taken didn’t have a neurologist, but one would come from forty miles away every two weeks. He “happened” to be “in the house” when Mom arrived in Emergency. He immediately put her on IV steroids to keep the swelling down and facilitate the healing process, and transferred her to the larger hospital. When I arrived 10 days post-accident, she was beginning to ambulate haltingly with a walker and also re-learning to feed herself.

    I told Dad to mark the long driveway and road, every 1/8 mile with spray paint, and he marked about 1/4 mile out at first. We walked as far as she was comfortable four or five times a day, and when I left in three weeks, she was walking 2 1/4 miles a day and was able to do most everything she had done before. She always had a little numbness and tingling in her feet and hands after the accident, but could count money, play Rummicube, Scrabble, and even Uno and, more importantly, could even take cookies in and out of the oven without fear of burning the house down. Every day we saw progress on this journey and what seemed like miracles. She lived seventeen more years, full of activity and mostly good health.

    I appreciate so much your dad’s ministry and the miracles that the Lord wrought through it. I will keep checking on the progress of your search and praying that the Lord will work in his behalf.

    Blessings, Rhonda Bolton

  14. Mardi

    Thank you Greg for the wonderful stories. We are praying for the safe return of your father.

  15. Kari Wagner

    First, thank you for the updates. There are many, many people reading them everyday as our only connection to your family right now.
    I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your stories!! I only know of your Father as a Physician so I’m really enjoying reading the stories you’re sharing…sometimes laughing out loud at the picture in my head.
    Your Father and family are in my prayers.

  16. Gordon Pifher

    A group of us from the North Pacific Union Conference office just finished a time of prayer for Dr. Sloop and the family. We know Jay is in “GOOD HANDS”. Dr. Sloop has been and will be an inspiration to us no matter what the future holds!

  17. Selene Hernandez

    I really enjoy the stories, you are a good story teller like your father. Every time we had our Wednesday devotionals at the office he always had a story about you and your brother’s childhood or grandchildren. I will continue to pray every day constantly, and fast and pray once or twice a week until he is found. Love your family dearly. God bless you and once again hang on to God’s promises.
    Thank you for the updates.

  18. Janie Liston Kurtz

    Greg, your updates are wonderful… and yes, you’re a fabulous story teller!!
    Today I’m fasting and praying with dozens and perhaps hundreds of others for your family and your dad. Praying that God will bind Satan and no longer let him interfere in any way with finding Jay or at least clues as to his whereabouts. He’s been like a dad to me ever since Total Health days.
    I will never, ever forget the day that Mt Saint Helen’s blew. It was pitch black in Yakima and I was at THF along with one kitchen worker and a full house of patients. Nobody was traveling anywhere very far that day. I kept everyone busy listening to the radio reports, walking on the treadmill, memorizing Psalms 46, and making chocolate chip cookies! ( Perhaps not done before or since at Total Health-ha!) The sunlight was totally blocked by falling ash and I’ve never been anywhere so completely dark. Along about 3:00 in the afternoon, who should come bursting in from the dark ash-covered world outside but Dr. Sloop!!! I can still see his face beaming thru the blackness! Don’t remember if he drove a tractor or his knockout yellow VW, but no volcano was going to keep him from checking on his stranded flock!
    While we don’t yet know his location, we do know that he is in God’s hands. Every day we choose to trust.

  19. SB

    I’ll be fasting and praying a day late due to today’s activities, joining you all.

  20. Cheryl Roberts

    Dear Greg and Sloop Family,

    Thinking of you all. Appreciate so much the delightful and happy stories.

    Continued HOPE and PRAYER that Dr. Sloop is found in good health!

    Hoping and Praying that he is returned to you very soon! Very soon!

  21. Julie Paige Houston

    To All the Sloop Family, your faith and courage in this time of crisis are very inspirational to me and many others. You are all in my prayers. I agonize with you as you wait and pray for answers that are not coming as quickly as anyone who has met Jay Sloop would hope.
    Whatever the outcome, God loves you all with a greater love than any of us can truly understand.

  22. Rachelle Pleasant

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories. They bring us all closer to the man we have such affection for. I’m sure you have precious little “spare” time and this must get harder and harder as time drags on, so I hope that the telling of these stories provides enough catharsis to offset the toll it takes on you!

  23. Carla Gober

    Ohhhh Greg,
    This makes me smile. I remember the many times your dad rushed into Total Health, just in time to see patients, so full of energy even though he had few breaks. Then, suddenly he would be stretched out on the floor for a 5 minute nap. Then up again completely refreshed….with a mischievous grin on his face, ready for the next adventure.

    Still praying…and hoping…


  24. Pamela

    Your dad delivered 4 of my 5 children. He was a man/doctor I respected and trusted from the vrry first time I met him in 1970.
    I was shocked and heartbroken when I read of his disappearance. My continued prayers go out to you and the rest of your family, for honestly, that’s all that any of us can do here in the Yakma Valley is pray and continue to have faith that an answer will be found soon.

  25. Gary & Malia Tolbert

    Thanx for the updates! We wish Dr Jay could be found well! We continue to remember you all and Sharlene in prayer.

  26. Shannon Collins Adamson

    Hi Greg.

    My mom is Sandy who worked for your dad for so many years.

    I’m wondering if there may be the slightest chance that we could reach out to Gabe Gomez. He’s a republican running for John Kerry’s senate seat in MA, who just happens to have been in my class at Ike. He may have some sort of connection that could help to reach Sec Kerry.
    Also, I’m wondering if there are any groups like your church or Doctors Without Borders or any others that could help to get this story on the national news? Pressure could be just the right thing to use about now. Please contact me if I can be of any assistance.
    Mom & I are praying for you all.


  27. Sandra Bowman

    Never having met your Dad, I now feel as tho I know him through your blogs. Thank you for that insight as we continue with prayer, fasting and claiming many promises.

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