As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. ~ Psalm 17:15, NKJV
It was Tuesday morning, May 14, 2013. Linda handed me the phone – my brother Randy in California was on the line. “Dad has gone missing this morning in Kiev. He failed to return from his morning walk.” My father, Jay Sloop, CME class of 1960, was on a three-week trip to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and Kiev, Ukraine – working to help set up two Seventh-day Adventist “lifestyle” medical facilities. This was his passion. He had been on the region several times before – the details seemed routine, so how could this be?
Our son Jeff was the closest to the area – in Cairo, Egypt, at the Nile Union Academy. He could be there in just a few hours. We called Jeff; and he was soon on the plane with Ron, his vice principal. One of the other Americans on the project in Kiev met them at the airport, and Jeff and Ron joined the search.
The Seventh-day Adventist church headquarters in Washington, DC, soon sent a team from Denmark that specialized in missing persons. Randy also arrived with more help from the United States. The park, where various security cameras last showed Dad entering, was searched repeatedly. Dog teams from the Ukraine and then from Germany were brought in, thousands of fliers were posted, hours of video surveillance footage were reviewed, multiple national news stories were run on TV, and trained searchers were hired.
Also, possible witnesses were interviewed, in addition to hundreds and hundreds of hours of searching by the Ukrainian Adventists and others. Nothing turned up – absolutely nothing!
It has been months now. Still nothing. We have slipped from hopefulness toward reality. And we wonder what happened? And why? We await God’s answers.
And yet, as I think back over the past 40 years, I am most impressed with my dad’s understanding of our mission as physicians. In our annual community heart disease-prevention seminar, Dad always gives a talk entitled “Whole Person Health.” In it, he points out how God created us as three-dimensional people.
He recounts how, on the sixth day of Creation, God formed Adam from the dust of the earth; and when He was finished, Adam had a perfect face, a perfect foot, a perfect liver… but he was one dimensional – physical. Then God breathed into him the breath of life; and his mind came alive, and now Adam could see and think and feel and remember – now he experienced life in two dimensions – the physical and the mental. How much more fulfilling that was than a one-dimensional life!
And then, on the seventh day, God offered to spend all day with Adam and Eve – to become friends. At that point, Adam and Eve began to develop in the third dimension – the spiritual. Now how much larger and even more fulfilling their lives were – living in all three dimensions! If we want to live life fully, we will come to the Person who makes us well forever by His presence.
–Richard Sloop, LLUSM class of 1986, is a neurologist in Yakima, Washington. Dean of LLUSM, Roger Hadley, requested the author write this tribute to his father, Dr. Jay Sloop. It was submitted August 27, 2013.