Better Health in Yakima

March 01, 2006 | Nita Hinman

If you were to drive into the Yakima Church parking lot on a Tuesday evening, you might have to swerve to miss the orange pylons and/or people walking. The walkers would be attending the “Guard Your Heart” class, one phase of the Adventist Healthy Lifestyle Series, and the pylons are set out in a quarter-mile course for them. Besides walking the course, attendees are weighed, at the beginning and end of this phase, and their blood is drawn. Tests are then done, determining their blood sugar, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol.

Randy Sloop and William Santana, both physicians, started the Adventist Healthy Lifestyle Series in 1999 to help people overcome depression. Because so few wanted to admit they were depressed, attendance was small. But Sloop and Santana went ahead with the next part of the series, a cooking school. During that phase, Randy Sloop had to be gone, so his twin brother, Rick Sloop, who is also a physician, reluctantly took over for him. Rick Sloop’s wife, Linda, a dietitian, taught the cooking school, and at the end of the cooking school, both Rick and Linda were hooked!

It grew in scope from there, and segments for the physical, mental and spiritual were added. The three phases in the yearly cycle are the cooking school (nine weeks), “Guard Your Heart” (10 weeks), and “Good News” (nine weeks). Average attendance from the community is approximately 35. There have been several baptisms as a direct or indirect result of attending the series.