A local Seventh-day Adventist Health Ministries worker from the United States has still not been found one week after he went missing in Kiev, Ukraine.
Dr. Jay Sloop, who serves as Health Ministries director for the denomination’s Upper Columbia Conference, based in Yakima, Washington, was assisting church leaders in the Ukrainian capital in setting up a lifestyle center.
Sloop, 77, was last seen on the morning of May 15. Authorities have accessed security camera footage showing him unsuccessfully trying to access cash from an ATM machine. Footage then showed him entering Zamkova Gora Park, but none showed him leaving. Colleagues alerted police later that morning and filed a missing person’s report.
The next day, some 80 volunteers from the Ukrainian Adventist college helped search the city. Some 7,000 missing-person posters have been posted throughout the city and the case has since been reported by several newspapers and TV news agencies.
Prayer vigils for the case have been held by the Ukrainian Union Conference, the Euro-Asia Division, based in Moscow, Russia, and by the Upper Columbia Conference.
"We are praying for the Lord's guidance and mercy,” said Guillermo Biaggi, president of the Euro-Asia division. “We are joining our efforts together with local union leadership, as well as our human resources in the Kiev Conference and nearby school, together with government officials and responders, to search and find Dr. Sloop.”
Sloop’s son, Jeff Sloop, flew to Kiev and has been working with church leaders and volunteers. He is keeping family informed of developments on the blog, sloop.net/wordpress.
Vladimir Krupskyi, the division’s executive secretary and former president of the Ukrainian Union, arrived in Kiev on May 17 to assist with the search.
Viktor Alekseenko, president of the Ukraine Union, said, “Every day groups of people from area churches and police are involved in the search. We are doing everything we can to provide all possible help and assistance in the search for Dr. Sloop.”
The United States Embassy in Kiev is also assisting in the search. An embassy staffer requested that Adventists around the world limit all unnecessary calls to the embassy. The staffer said they’ve never had so many calls, and are amazed that a church could generate so many.