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


34 thoughts on “A word from Rick and Randy…

  1. Kent R. Roberts

    Rick,Randy and Greg:
    A big Thank You to each of you for your words here. Very helpful and healthful comments. Your Dad and Mom are very special people to me as you already know, and as are you. This has been tough and I know that you have each given every ounce of energy and time that is possible. Thank You for that as well. We will do our best to support your mother and continue to pray for Jay


  2. Roy Galutia

    Continued prayers for your family and for Law enforcement in their investigation ….

  3. victoria Carlson-Iizuka

    I’ve been following your blog with interest and prayers. Never met your father but if his father was J.Randal Sloop, he helped me get financial aid to graduate from WWC in 1967.

    Thanks for posting what not to/what to say…this will help in so many similar situations when I avoid talking to people being afraid to say the wrong thing. Living in Japan, I doubt we’ll ever meet this side of Heaven!

    God knows what/how/everything and in His time we will all know.

  4. Daniel D. Knapp

    The transitional phase of the search for Jay has only reinforced what by personal acquaintance through ministry to the Sloop family, I already knew. That in good times or less than ideal, the family that I knew when I was their pastor, was a God encompassed family. The passage of time and now this present crisis has only confirmed that being a saint is living each moment in the control of God. For me, the reality of what heaven will be like has been captured in the present lives of the Sloop family who have been so transparent and faith driven. I choose to believe, based on abundant evidence, Jay exhibits the 21st century character qualities of Enoch. Until proven otherwise I’d like to believe based on abundant evidence throughout his lifetime and the shadow of Jesus’ character cast over his family and far flung influence globally, that his disappearance is nothing short of what Enoch’s family and friends experienced when their dad, husband, grandpa and friend went for a walk one day. None of us can know for sure how Jay’s walk ended. But I am convinced he had the character needed to prove Jesus is worth it all to an entire universe waiting for the Great Controversy to end. Maranatha
    Pastor Dan Knapp

  5. jean(van den brink)soper (william)

    Just wanted to say my thoughts and prayers are with all of your family. Bill and I both went to college with your parents. I think Sharlene was one of my monitors.

  6. Rebecca Ruiz

    Dear family,

    We follow your news about Jay’s searching. We lift many prayers to the heaven every day for this case which has impacted us. We should trust in the Lord even if we understand this tribulation. A big hug to Sharlene and the rest of the family.

    Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
    yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
    The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

    Habakkuk 3:17-19

  7. Jean Anne Nelson

    I really appreciate your words. For those of us that haven’t experienced these types of situations and for those of us that just can’t imagine living through such a circumstance, we never know what is the right or wrong thing to say even though we want to say something to express that we care. What I really like is that you helped by offering a solution….you us gave us some verbiage as well as the reasoning behind it. YOU, in your time of trouble, are helping us. So a big thank you and may God bless you!

    Keeping the entire Sloop family in my daily prayers,
    Jean Anne

  8. Carla Gober-Park

    Hi to all –
    Thanks for the good suggestions. These are such helpful guidelines. Though people (all of us) are well-intentioned, our awkwardness abounds at times.
    Everywhere (in story, thought and action) are responses to Jay’s life well-lived – a life lived for God – a life helping others live for God. Someday we will have the entire story, but now we live “through a glass darkly.”
    The moments with Jay have been formative moments for me. I owe him so much. As Gordon said when Jay was leaving our house just a couple of months ago (and I said many times when we parted), “I miss him already.”
    Sharlene, Rick, Randy and Greg – since the days of eating dried apples from your kitchen table, of working in your orchard, of teaching with Jay at Total Health, and the many other encounters through the years – I love you all and thank you for sharing Jay with us.

    Warmly, Carla

  9. Dennis Crane

    Philippians 3:13-14 (CJB)
    [13] Brothers, I, for my part, do not think of myself as having yet gotten hold of it; but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind me and straining forward toward what lies ahead, [14] I keep pursuing the goal in order to win the prize offered by God’s upward calling in the Messiah Yeshua*.

    Philippians 3:12-14 (MSG)
    Focused on the Goal
    I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

  10. Roger and Marcia Van Arsdell

    Great advice, beautifully and thoughtfully written! Hugs to Sharlene. Prayers for all of you continuing.

  11. Michael Moor

    Thank you Rick and Randy for the tutoring. It is often difficult to know what to say to people in situations like these. So to hear it first hand is helpful. Just know that we are feeling and praying for all of you.

  12. Karen Lamberton

    Thank you for the good advice…
    I will continue to pray for your Dad and your family… May God hold you all very close to his heart…

  13. Janet Goertzen

    You have given some good advice. When I lost my husband the most encouraging thing someone could say was: I am so glad to see you and give a hug– when appropriate. Another question that sent me hurrying out of the church: What do you plan to do with the rest of your life ?

    People mean well, and love us, but often say the wrong thing.

    God bless you all,
    Janet Goertzen

  14. Linnea Torkelsen

    First thing in the morning and again just before bed we check the blog for news of your Dad, and prayers are added with each reading. Thank you for allowing us to share your burdens and your hope.

    I keep an old German saying on the picture of my parents. It says “Those who live in the Lord never see eachother for the last time.”

    Love to all of you… Linnea

  15. Gwen Woodward-Schmidt

    Greg, thank you for all you have shared, so genuinely and openly. Back in my childhood, your Mom and Dad attended the Alhambra S. D. A. Church along with my family. They are larger than life in my memory. I will keep you all close to my heart and in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Joyce (Hill) Watterud

    Dear Sharlene, Rick, Randy and Greg –
    Jay was the person responsible for my baptism. He led me to the SDA church, and continued to mentor me. I enjoyed years of Bible study with him, and enjoyed our encounters at YACS. He never failed to call me, either at work or at home, to check on my willingness to take some small part in the church service. I never saw him without his trademark smile, and the little gleam of impishness in his eyes! I continue to pray for him, and the entire family, every day. Wherever Jay may be, or whatever the outcome, let there never be a doubt that his love for Christ, and his steadfast work in leading others to Jesus, will be his legacy.

  17. Vickie Bullard

    Thanks Rick and Greg
    Your Dad and the Sloop family have always treated me with kindness and love, except when your Dad reminds me of my need to lose weight- lol He is right of course but he always did it in a loving manner.
    I love the pastors analogy of being like Enoch- that was one of my first thoughts or desires when I heard he was missing. My hope and prayers are that he is still alive and will come home anyway. Thank you so much for the helpful advice upon seeing your Mom.

  18. Vickie Bullard

    I get e-mails from Gods work.org- Dwayne ?
    Here is an excellent excerpt from his new book:

    The reason I’m sharing this is because I want you to have that same trust and assurance that all will be well no matter what the report says and no matter how bleak the situation may seem right now. Stay in peace no matter how hard the storms are raging and no matter how tempted you are to murmur and complain. If the Lord hasn’t left you in times past, then why would He leave you now? In those times of uncertainty, I would encourage you to bless the Lord with your words of praise and thanksgiving. Let your confession be praise filled. Speak only positive, overcoming and authoritative words of victory over your situation. Don’t murmur, don’t complain and don’t magnify the negatives, but rather magnify all of the positives. Remember your past victories and make every effort to focus on the right things. When you do, you will see your situation turn around to bless you and make you better than you were before it. (Hebrews 13:5-6) (Philippians 2:14-15)

    :)- I see God’s victory in what ever the outcome is in this situation with Dr. Sloop- Praise God for this trial and praise Him for the love he has for us.

  19. VG

    How very thoughtful of you sons to be so caring towards your mother. As others have already said, it is good advice for all of us to remember. May God continue to carry you in his arms, and we will continue to pray for a good conclusion to this heartbreaking situation.

  20. Lynda

    Thanks for keeping us all posted. Prayers and hugs to all the family and friends. Praying for family, friends and all those involved in the search.

  21. Amber Miller

    Dr. Jay was my doctor 10 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had a horrible pregnancy and it never got better. I started hemorrhaging at 28 weeks and had no other choice than to have an emergency csection. Dr. Jay was amazing! He saved my life and he saved my daughters life! For that I will be eternally grateful to him. He is a hero in our family!

    Praying for him everyday!

    Amber Miller

  22. Patty

    I see your mom walking on scenic almost every day , as I pass her all I say is we are praying for you and your family. I don’t hug her or say anything else. She is always very kind says thank You. Dr Sloop delivered my two oldest boys and helped me though infertility. He is such a man of God. god bless you all.

  23. Brad Hill

    Thank you for writing this blog to keep us informed without intruding or making an already desperate situation worse. I live two houses down from your parents house on Englewood and I’ve followed the news closely. I never met your father but can’t help but think about him and what your family is going through everyday that he isn’t found. I had guests over just the other day who had two babies delivered by your father after a string of miscarriages and they spoke very fondly of him. I’m sure you’ve heard many similar sentiments. At any rate I feel compelled to let you know that we all care deeply for you and this situation – even those of us who have never met your father. It’s an odd thing to want to help your neighbor and not having any way to help. I guess all I can say is there are many many many people asking God to watch over your family.

  24. Margie Johnson

    I have been following your Blog religiously, as many others are also doing….waiting, hoping, praying for his safe return. There is one photo of your Dad that especially touched me, the one of him eating fruit at the table with a big grin on his face. I looked at his hands, pondering how many babies he delivered safely Into this world! I had four babies, all touched first by those gentle hands…..prayers be with you and your family.

  25. Ralph & Rita Roberts

    We were so saddened by the news of Jay’s disappearance when Lew Wilson called us on the 14th. And of course, we have been praying earnestly for not only Jay, but for the whole family as well. Only God has the answers. Ralph has roomed with Jay in Ukraine, as he has quite an interest over there as well.
    We have been following your blog with interest, Greg, & really appreciate that. To be alerted when you have something new to say would be nice. Our thoughts & prayers are continually with all of you.
    Warm regards, Rita

  26. Bonny Alkofer

    Thank you sooooo very much for writing this blog Greg! And a BIG thank you to Randy & Rick for writing these words of advice today. You can be sure that I am never going to stop praying for your Dad….our precious “Papa Sloop”. We will continue to pray for Him and for Sharlene and of course to pray for ALL of you. I hope you’ll all continue contributing to this blog & keep us Yakima folks informed of any “news”. God bless the entire Sloop family.

  27. pam b

    Rick and Ranndy ,Greg and family, your strength is so positive I worked with Dr sloop and Dr Randy also my prayers for you all will never stop. I wait for the day you will all be together again. I my self am not a writer but heart is with all of you. Thank you during this hard time to share info and memories and pictures.God Bless your family and May you cont. With the strength. to let us share this blog. I do trust our faith will keep you strong. Pam from YVMH OBT and papa Sloop never had to tell me the horse carriage story more then once ( DR was left s handed so we had to be sure and turn his suture turnaround ) wish could tell story but don’t remember it as ‘ll but you only got 3 warnings. He is the best….

  28. Betsy Broom

    I wanted to share about how I have been part of this even though I have never met Dr. Sloop. A colleague who lives in Cody, Wyoming, was leaving to visit her son who lives and works in Kiev. I shared an abbreviated update and asked her to talk with her son about what he had heard. She emailed me that she met the reporter who is writing the updates for an English newspaper ( the reporter and her son are friends). She sent me the link to the newspaper and I am copying it into my comment. I am praying that everyone keeps sharing the search and someone will know someone who will be able to help!
    You can also search for kyivpost.


  29. Patricia Kline

    Praying for the whole family. Dr Sloop became my doctor when I was 19 years old. Delivered four of my babies. He was my doctor until he retired. I’m 61 now so that was many years. He became family to us. Please keep the updates going.

  30. Carroll Dunston

    Such caring, thoughtful words for all of us and especially the boys’ mom. I believe the people who have been praying will not stop now that the investigation is at another stage. My memories of Dr. Sloop are of such a fine physician and caring individual. We live on a broken planet, and God’s children are not shielded from suffering. They are, however, held by His compassionate hand. Thank you for keeping an update – one that you never signed up for. Re-integrating into life is a tough phase at best and even more difficult when the details are public and yet not concluded. I will never forget the days at Total Health Foundation that [literally] saved my life.

  31. Lori Woodruff

    Your suggestions on what to say or not to say are very thought provoking. When all the dust settles and you have had time to heal, i would like to suggest you put these thoughts on a dvd to help others in a time of grief or loss. My prayers are with you all.

  32. Paula Cobleigh

    I really liked the comment left by Margie Johnson about her favorite picture of your father….the one at the table…and how she liked that one because she wondered how many babies those hands had delivered safely into this world. I also liked the picture the most, too, but because you could see just how much of a gentle and kind person he is. But her comment made me think deeper about the work your father has done and just how many lives he has touched. He is now touching people’s heart of those whom have never even met him….the stories you have shared of your father have allowed all of us to get to know him on a more personal level…and for those of us who don’t know him, I’m sure I can speak for all of us that we wish we did have him as a friend in our life.
    Thank you to Rick and Randy for the helpful suggestions about what not to say, and especially for what we could be saying. It is always so hard to know the right thing to say to people who are going through such difficult times. I also like that you have provided an alternative for those who want to give.
    Thank you again for making this blog…so many of us are praying for Jay to be found safe and sound and you are keeping us all up to date on the progress.

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