My Dad, Thomas Laymon Sloan, was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of a carpenter.
He was saved at the age of 16. After graduating from High School, he studied medicine at the Oklahoma University in Oklahoma City. He became a Pediatrician.
In 1968, God called him to be a missionary to Mexico. God gave him a lovely wife (Billie Jean Ashcraft) who helped him fulfill his calling. In 1972, they came to Chiapas, Mexico, where Dad served for the rest of his life.
I am blessed to be one of the 8 children born into this home, and to have seen Dad’s faithfulness to the Lord and to his calling.
In 1980, he became ill with Parkinson’s Disease. God gave Dad the grace to continue to serve him through 24 years of this awful disease. What a testimony he was to us, those who lived the closest to him and who saw all that he suffered.
He never became bitter, taking whatever each day brought with a good attitude, saying many times, “Hey, kids, isn’t it fun being a missionary?!”
From riding donkeys across raging rivers to take the Gospel to far-away villages and starting a strong work in the city, this amazing and unusual man faithfully plowed this hard ground, sowing the Word and winning Indians to Christ.
Then came the time when he became too weak to do his beloved mission work. But God had given him four sons, whom he had wisely trained in the ministry. They followed Dad’s steps, honoring their father as they faithfully helped out in the ministry.
But even during the time after he was unable to to mission work, he was there, faithfully encouraing his wife and children, and the pastors and young men whom he had trained for the ministry. What a true blessing he was!
God called Dad to Heaven so suddenly on December 5, 2004.
God called Dad’s 3rd son, Philip, to come take over the work that Dad started which today is growing and thriving under the mighty blessings of God.(His other 3 sons started ministries elsewhere…one in Mexico; one in El Paso, Texas; and the youngest in Ukraine).
If you could come to our part of the world today, you could go visit dozens of churches started in the remote villages of Chiapas by men whom Dad led to the Lord.
Where do you end a story about such a man?
You don’t. There is no ending. Dad has gone on to his reward in Heaven; but he lives on in the lives of his children whom he reared and trained for his Lord; and in the lives of the Indian people that he won to the Lord, and to whom he gave his life.
Sunday, November 29, 2004, one week before his death...The last picture taken of Dad.
With 6 of his children, their spouses and children.
In 2005, I wrote the following poem about my Dad
DAD’S OLD ROCKING CHAIR
Sometimes I sit and look at Dad’s old rocking chair
And I remember all the time that he spent sitting there.
The dear red pillows still set there—the ones that Liz had sown
And when I see them I still hear him say, “Come help me sit down.”
He spent hours in that chair—oh, but it was not wasted time
He’d sit and plan and think and read—and make dreams to last a lifetime.
He’d come and sit there sometimes as early as the dawn
And throughout most of the day—he liked to know what was going on.
I remember one particular time I sat across from him during my devotions
And after a bit, he fell asleep. How the memory stirs my emotions!
Many times, I recall, he’d sit and talk to the Indian pastors
He advised and encouraged, and often kept them from unseen disasters.
He’d also sit and read and read, and I’d sometimes see him yawn
He read his Bible and Time Magazines—
He looked so distinguished with his glasses on!
But he always had time to listen if one of us wanted to talk
Always interested in what we said—and never looking at the clock.
He also loved to sit and watch his grandbabies playing on the floor
I heard him laugh at them many times, and he never would get bored!
When I’d come in with Little Andrew Jonathan, it was always such a delight!
They’d sit together, and Dad once said, “Andy and I are gonna be alright!”
In that old rocking chair he ate, he slept, and often told some jokes
And when one of us would pass by he’d say,
“Please bring me a cold Coke!”
Right on down to his last few days that he lived on this earth
He sat in that old rocking chair—I could never tell its worth.
The last time that I saw Dear Dad, he was sitting in his chair
He had his glasses on, reading his Bible, but I was unaware
That in just a few short hours he’d be with the Author of that Book
Resting in the arms of the One he loved, and Whose will and plan he never forsook.
Faithful to the end, I saw him sitting there
And now we have only sweet, sweet memories
When we see Dad’s Old Rocking Chair.
--Written by Mrs. Anna López—
July 5, 2005
Mom has written a book about her life with Dad, entitled Tom and Me. I highly recommend it. If you would like a copy of this book, please contact me. My mom has a blog, as well, with updates on her life and ministry here in Chiapas. Go to www.mimitomany.blogspot.com to read encouraging devotions, uplifting reports, and photos of her children and their spouses and her ever-growing number of grandchildren!