July 9, 2020
Thursday, Day 584
I constantly must remind myself that God’s promises in Scripture are real and true. My vindication will come from Him alone (Isaiah 54:17; Proverbs 21:31). He acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4). Therefore, I must be patient and endure (James 5:11), for He is full of compassion and is merciful!
Prayers from you are especially critical now, as Judge Arcara, my sentencing judge, is in the final stages, hopefully, of whether or not to vacate my sentence. The basis for this is ineffective counsel because my attorneys never informed me of the statute 1204(c)(2) defense, which allows for a parent to remove a child from the country to protect he or she from a pattern of abuse. In other words, my belief that Lisa Miller was protecting her daughter from sexual abuse during court-ordered visitations was a legitimate defense for violating any “parental rights” which Janet Jenkins may have had. Please pray that Judge Arcara rules justly and quickly.
In another development, we have hired Michael Hirsh, a Peachtree City, Georgia attorney as defense attorney for my daughter Victoria, my company, Response Unlimited, and myself, in the civil suit filed in Vermont Federal Court against us and other defendants. However, we have not yet secured a local Vermont attorney, as not one can be found to help. We are requesting Judge William Sessions waive this requirement, which he has the authority to do. Please pray in regards to this, as well.
In yet another matter, we have until July 11 to respond to the government’s objection to my request that Judge Arcara overrule the Bureau of Prison’s determination that I am a violent criminal which makes me ineligible for home confinement. I expect to meet this deadline, with the help of “D,” my “jailhouse lawyer,” which will give Judge Arcara another opportunity to send me home prior to or without vacating my sentence. According to the law, I should have already been home based on the “Senior Defender Home Confinement Pilot Program,” passed in conjunction with the First Step Act, and also due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please pray with us about this.
And during these difficult times, Kathie continues to be plagued with physical problems as we remain under lockdown with no visitation privileges. In addition to more oral surgery, she has somehow damaged her Achilles tendon in her heel, and she is hoping to avoid surgery which would keep her off her feet for months! She needs prayer!
Other than that, God sustains us, and we continue to try to be patient and endure, with your prayer support. He alone is victorious! Our little church that meets in our unit every night with between 10-13 men packed into a 7’x9’ cell continues to grow in the Lord and be used of Him. Thank you for continuing to pray!
In His Service,
Philip Zodhiates 18649-084
Ashland Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 6001
Ashland, KY 41105
June 24, 2020
I am asking you to please pray with me and my family. On Friday, June 26, my sentencing judge, Richard Arcara, should be receiving my final response to the lawyers replies to his second set of very pointed inquiries in regard to the motion to vacate my sentence I sent to him approximately one year ago. My “jailhouse lawyer” has been diligently working on this 17-page document since February, and the end result is excellent and right on point.
So please pray that God moves Judge Arcara’s heart and that he will soon send me home completely vindicated! I am so grateful to the Lord for bringing the motion this far and am looking forward to many seeing God’s hand at work in a marvelous way which brings glory only to Him!
Today, just prior to our scheduled weekly recreation time outside, we were informed it had been cancelled. We consequently heard several rumors why, but eventually the warden sent out an email and informed the inmate population that Covid-19 has officially made its way into Ashland Federal Correctional Institution. But for me, it hits a little closer to home. A week ago, last Monday, they began to allow the three men in our unit who work in HVAC to go back to work. It turns out the guard who supervises the HVAC crew tested positive today for Covid-19. So, any inmates who work around him were put into immediate quarantine in the unit next door in our building. One of them is K, who meets with our Bible study and prayer group each night, when 10-13 of us cram into one of our 7′ X 9′ cells for this purpose. So please also pray that none of the inmates, especially K or those who were meeting with him, has contracted Covid-19.
It just dawned on me that it is already summertime. We pretty much missed Spring being locked into our climate-controlled unit 24-7 since wintertime. And it never even dawned on me we were close to summertime, let alone in it!
Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Kathie especially needs your prayer as some broken teeth have been giving her fits and are now forcing her to have more painful oral surgery. I would love to be home with her as she goes through this trying time!
In His service,
P.S. Please also pray for “J” and “A,” who regularly come to our Bible study and are close to giving their lives to Christ.
ARE YOU A GOAT OR A SHEEP?
A Call for the Church to be the Church and stand on TRUTH!
FROM PHILIP ZODHIATES
June 18, 2020
I have been met with the presence of the Lord in one of the most powerful ways I have ever experienced in my life. I met Him with tears, completely unworthy to be in His presence but for the blood of Jesus.
The Lord quietly spoke to me that my time here in prison is serving His purpose. He has ordained me for this. It is a privilege and a calling, and one in which I feel totally unqualified. Yet here I am. And there is a clear message I am to proclaim to the church in this nation.
The time is upon us, when the sheep will be separated from the goats. The tares will be separated from the wheat, and will be burned up in the eternal fire. It is time to get off the fence and determine who we shall serve — no matter the consequences. For those who choose the Lord God, suffering will no doubt ensue — great persecution and even imprisonment. Yet we are to rejoice to be so called, for God has a special purpose in this. It is all part of His divine plan. We are His instrument in sparking revival even in the darkest of places. We are called to be His light in even the bleakest of dungeons, but we are not to fear, for He is with us wherever we are called of Him to go.
And so we must stand on truth and justice, and solely upon the Word of God. There is no untruth in It. We cannot reject any part of any word of It. Our life must be one that is filled with the Holy Spirit. We are called to be different. Set apart. Sanctified. Transformed. Full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control which all comes from being in His presence. We will not have all the answers to God’s mysteries, but we must be the light shining in darkness which cannot be blown out. He alone provides the power and ability to be so, if only we would fully surrender to His care and to His lordship. We are called to be His doulos — His slave. His disciple makers. But He is the perfect Master and will not place upon us any burden which we cannot bear.
He has given us power through His Holy Spirit to overcome any situation and obstacle, and now is the time to prepare.
There are many waiting for you and watching for you, to see what you will do. The choice is now yours. I have seen how the Holy Spirit can change the most vile, evil, self-centered heart in the most sudden and dramatic and permanent way. Many more will turn to Him, as we take up our cross and follow Him, to the byways, and even into what may be our divine destiny — imprisonment for Christ. Revival in our land will take place in our prisons as more and more of God’s chosen are called to take up their crosses no matter the consequences. Now is the time to decide whose side you are on.
God will put in you a heart of compassion and love for these, the worst of sinners. He is moving, and He is calling. Now is the time to repent of our idols and our indecisiveness and determine to follow Christ with our whole being. Now is the point of decision.
No more wavering!
May 25, 2020
Monday, Day 538
Today is Kathie and my 39th anniversary, although we did not have a wedding per se until our 25th wedding celebration when we restated our marriage vows. The first time was in front of the Justice of the Peace Judge Stone in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was telling some men this afternoon that was the beginning of 39 years of God’s blessings, as we were treated that night to a honeymoon suite at the Maxim hotel for a mere $60. This $3,000+ per night player’s suite was made possible by the Lord because of Judge Stone, or we would have been driving back to Los Angeles that Memorial Day night in search of a vacant hotel room.
This anniversary has been difficult for both of us, I’d have to admit. We really believed I would have been home by now. I began to pour out my heart to the Lord, and He spoke to me reminding me of I Peter 5:10: “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
God then made it clear to me that He is indeed humbling me, and He is keeping me here for the work He is doing in me. My suffering is not for others, but for my benefit, and it is imperative I understand this completely. My pride wants me to think that I am in prison for the benefit of those around me, but God could have just as easily brought people to Christ and strengthened them in the Lord without me. It is far more important that I recognize the fact that He wants to change and perfect me. That is all that matters. And in the meanwhile, it is imperative I am 100 percent faithful to Him, filled with the Spirit to overflowing. It matters not whether my life influences merely one person, or a million. Only my faithfulness matters. God is solely responsible for everything else. I am not to make grandiose plans to win the world for Christ or right wrongs or injustices. Instead, I want to be molded and shaped into an instrument God can use. Only when I recognize this, and He is finished in teaching me what I need to know, will he release me from this suffering.
Today I dissected I Peter 5:10 in the NASV by doing a word study utilizing The Complete Word Study New Testament. “To perfect” means to restore, set right, make a perfect fit, such as one should be deficient in no part. “To confirm” means to make steadfast (this is translated “established” in Romans 1:11). “To strengthen” is used only in I Peter 5:10 as its root is more commonly used in the negative aspect, with a negative prefix, as in “to lack strength” or “to be sick.” To be strengthened then is to be made whole in our infirmities. Finally, to be established, as translated here, is the word themelio, which means “to be found” or “to lay the foundation of anything.” In other words, God is building a foundation through our suffering, which will establish us for His future use!
In the past weeks, as our little group of 12% of the men in our unit packed shoulder to shoulder in Will’s 7×9 cell, I have come to realize what the church should look like. It is a much truer picture of what God wants in His church; I am convinced. We come from many different backgrounds, and are in prison for many different reasons, some I do not even know why. Yet we are all washed in the blood and agree on the fundamentals of our salvation and love and accept one another. I have come to the realization that I have to teach and share. We are all being perfected, confirmed, strengthened and established. Had it not been for COVID-19 and our being locked down in this unit, it is very likely our little church would have never been formed. And, amazingly, it is the newest believer among us, “W,” who brought all of us together.
He is also the one who brought still another into our midst, who after one night came to realize he didn’t understand a thing of what we were speaking about. So “W” gave him one of his Bibles to read, which he is devouring for the first time in his life. His name is “J,” and he is recognizing that the Holy Spirit is working on him. Please pray for “J.”
In regard to my motion to vacate my sentence, because of some unexpected last minute affidavits received supporting my mens rea that Isabella was being sexually abused, I asked Judge Arcara for a two-week extension in making my final reply. This is now due on June 4. Please pray with us for “D,” who is working on this document for me, and that God will move the heart of Judge Arcara. I can’t tell you how much Kathie and I appreciate your prayers and letters and notes of encouragement. Thank you!
In His Service,
May 6, 2020
Dear one in Christ,
I praise the Lord for His love and His sovereign working all things together for HIS Glory! We serve an amazing and awesome Lord, and I never cease to be overwhelmed by His grace, mercy, and love and the way He works everything together for good.
Today was a milestone of sorts. We were very surprised to be suddenly told we could go outside for 1 1/2 hours this morning to the recreation yard. This was the first time in two months most of us were able to breathe fresh, outside air!
Even though it was quite cold (we were thankful to have been told to take coats), it was extremely invigorating and boosted everyone’s spirits. I was glad to be able to walk the entire time, probably at least 5 miles, and work off some of the excess calories from the unbalanced diet and lying around for the past two months. Often, I opt in the chow hall for meatless options, but as long as they’ve been delivering meals to the units with lots more sugars and refined starches, we’ve not had that option. Plus, we are only getting one hot meal a day; the others being cereal and sandwiches.
Another unit was cleared out to make room for Unicor workers, who are basically the long-term government slave laborers, so they could find a way to get them back to work. About 12 from that unit came to our unit, and about eight of them are believers! I am just now meeting them all, although one has started studying the Bible with me, Will and Richard every evening. That means there are now at least 13 true believers in our unit if all of the eight new guys turn out to be genuine. Before we had become confined to our cells, our nightly prayer group had dwindled to about five because of guys going home or to another facility. Nine of us crammed together last night into a 7’x 9’ cell to pray and study.
Thank you everybody who donated to send Will to Teen Challenge. He is so very thrilled and anxious to be going. He has to first have hernia surgery when he is released in July. He is thrilled now he does not need to come up with the intake fee. He continues to grow in the Lord!
My paralegal “jailhouse lawyer” is now working on what, God-willing, is my final response for Judge Arcara, my sentencing judge. The answers from my attorneys and prosecutors in response to the judge’s specific questions have been elusive, misleading and contained outright lies! They have attempted to “muddy the waters” by bringing into the debate peripheral issues, which have nothing to do with my main contentions – that I was never explained or told of the statute 1204(c)(2) affirmative defense allowing Lisa Miller to remove her child from the country if they were fleeing a pattern of abuse and that the jury was denied the opportunity to learn of the alleged abuse, and to determine if the abuse Isabella was enduring was my motive in giving Lisa Miller and her daughter a ride to Buffalo, New York. All other issues are irrelevant!
The Wuhan virus scare has caused everything to be delayed, which, aside from delaying my ultimate release, may be a good thing, as it has delayed the civil trial and discovery. I have asked for another extension in selecting a new Vermont lawyer. We are all locked in our respective units, so I cannot confer as to the drafting of my response, but I am confident it is in God’s hands. The deadline for this response is now May 21. Please pray!
I did apply to be released under the CARES Act to home confinement, but it was denied by the warden, H. Allen Beard. His reasoning was because he claimed the program statement on inmate discipline and special housing units lists International Parental Kidnapping specifically as a crime of violence and “other policies or programs indicate that an inmate COULD (my emphasis) be denied the benefits of such programs.” Therefore, I am a violent offender and for this reason he has chosen to deny me. I write more about this at www.romanseight28.com.
Yet today, I learned that the largest cocaine trafficking king pen in the United States has been released from this prison because of COVID-19. This is disheartening, but supposedly he paid over $1 million to a DC attorney to “get him out” under the CARES Act. But I know God is ultimately in control, and He may choose to use me here a little while longer. But the worst part of the way things are now is that we are being denied any visits. I haven’t seen Kathie in over two months, and they say it won’t be until later this year when they open back up visitation. So please pray God works on Judge Arcara’s heart to rule in my favor, vacating my sentence, and that the government doesn’t retry me. Thank you again for all of your prayers, letters and support, on behalf of both Kathie and me. This has been especially difficult on my wonderful wife, Kathie, who is so grateful for all you’ve done. She says you all are such a blessing to her.
In HIS service,
I Peter 5:10: But the God of all grace, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered awhile, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As I write this letter my mind is on Christ. The Scripture that comes to mind is Proverbs 3:5-6 and Matthew 6:31-33. Being a new believer in Christ has changed my perspective so dramatically when it comes to the purpose of my life. Before my rebirth, I didn’t feel that I had a purpose and deep down in my heart was a vast emptiness that could never be filled as hard as I tried. I believe that is why most people use drugs, at least that is why I did. Through Christ I have the wisdom to understand this and also the power and strength to overcome that which is an ugly thing called addiction. Through Christ all things are possible. All the glory goes to God.
I truly feel He has given me a new life and for the first time a purpose which is a desire to serve Him. As long as I acknowledge Him in all ways, He promises to direct my paths. So first and foremost, I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him in any way I can. I don’t know how that is at the moment, but I do love and trust the Lord with all my heart, and I believe He will reveal this to me in time.
Having the chance to attend the Teen Challenge program for recovery is such a blessing and again I thank God. I also would like to thank Philip and Kathie Zodhiates for being there for me and caring enough about me to help guide me in the right direction. They are my family, and I love them so much. Then, there is Janet Stasulli who I would like to thank for helping set up the page that brought in all the donations for the intake fee to the program. I don’t know where I would have come up with the money for the program, but she provided a solution and even though I have never met her, I hope to be able to thank her in person one day. Finally, I would like to thank all the people who donated money to get me the help that I need, and to my loving family and friends who have supported me on my journey through transformation into becoming a servant of God! I hope one day that I can help someone find Christ and their purpose in life through Christ. All the glory is His! God bless!
March 26, 2020
I am writing you this letter to specifically introduce you to Will Flournoy. Will is a fellow inmate who lives in my dorm at Ashland Federal Correctional Institute.
Last week, God miraculously, through the Holy Spirit, brought Will to a place of repentance, and he was born again. This change has been remarkable, Jesus Christ has radically changed him, and he has been genuinely redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Will is being released from prison on July 11, after having served a six-year sentence. Because of a lifetime of drug addiction, he would like to immediately enter an Adult Teen Challenge residential rehabilitation program. It is a one year to fifteen-month faith-based program, and he meets all the criteria, but doesn’t have the $3,000 entrance fee.
I would like to encourage you to help Will cover this cost. The 419 Fund will collect the funds and send them directly to Teen Challenge in Will’s city.
I am very enthused about Will’s future, as he is eagerly sharing with everyone what God has done in his life. Your investment in his future in this way will yield immense returns for the kingdom of God. Thank you for prayerfully considering this. Go to https://419fund.com/donations/will-flournoy/
In His Service,
My name is William Flournoy, and for most of my life I’ve been missing something. That something is purpose. From so far back as I can remember, I felt the need to fill this void in my life but didn’t know how. Like a lot of young people, I started using drugs to help fit in and, like most people, became a slave to addiction.
It started off with marijuana and soon escalated to harder drugs like cocaine and meth. I thought the drugs would fill that void in my heart and would eventually lead to me finding purpose in what was becoming a chaotic life that I thought at the time was normal. How wrong I was!
The use of drugs eventually led to the distribution of drugs, which finally led to incarceration. Receiving an 84-month sentence was a reality check for me at the age of 31 and caused me to re-evaluate my life. But as much as you would think prison is intended to rehabilitate a person, the harsh reality is that most of the time people don’t learn their lesson and even become worse from their time in prison. I continued to use drugs in prison and kept getting in trouble, all the while thinking that I can stop on my own whenever I want and will eventually quit before I get released. How powerless I was and didn’t even realize it.
I had grown up in a somewhat religious family who made my brother and I go to Sunday school every week, but eventually I lost touch with religion because at the time I was rebellious and just went through the motions. When I’d first entered prison, I started going to the church services with some friends and attended Bible study because I felt that there was some truth to what they were telling me about Christ. I felt the need to seek some type of understanding from the Bible that so many of my friends seemed to have at the time. They would tell me what it took to be born again and with that a transformation would occur, but I was always on the fence with my belief. You can say that I had doubt like Thomas did. I couldn’t see myself giving up certain things that I did in my life that were considered a sin in the Bible – like using drugs and lusting after women.
I eventually left that prison and went to a lower custody prison, where I stopped going to church and continued to use drugs. I also continued to get in trouble because of it and eventually reached a point of desperation and found myself praying to God. I asked for him to help and promised to change my life if He would, which He miraculously did in a matter of hours. Not only did He answer my prayer, but I felt like He gave me the strength to overcome my drug addiction and felt like I knew what it would take to get out and stay out of prison.
I had this overwhelming feeling that I was experiencing that felt better than any drug I’ve ever done, and it wasn’t going away. I started hearing the Lord speak to me in everything around me and felt like He was directing me to something. Then one day, I was led to speak with a man about my new thoughts and how I was feeling. When I told this man that I couldn’t understand why I was feeling like I was high, this man said it sounded like I had the Holy Spirit working in me. This man, whom I believe is a messenger sent from God, is Philip Zodhiates.
Things started making more sense after that, and I started hearing God speak to me in so many ways. I was invited to a church service and immediately decided to go. Something was calling me to that service.
On March 15th, 2020, at the age of 37, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, came to surrender all my burdens at the foot of the cross, and repented of all my sins!
I felt the Holy Spirit pour out into my heart and soul and fill every fiber of my body. I made the decision to live my life for Christ from that day forward, and now I feel conviction in the way I have sinned my whole life. I have started hanging out with my new friend, who is my brother in Christ. He is my guardian angel. Since we’ve started spending time together, we have done lots of praying and studying together, and I feel like he is strengthening my faith through the understanding of the Bible.
He had mentioned there is a program called Teen Challenge that I would probably enjoy going to since I have no place to go when I get out. I called and talked to the intake coordinator about the program, and it sounds so awesome. It’s a 12-15-month faith-based recovery program and I meet all the requirements – except I am going to have some trouble coming up with the $2,500 intake fee that is needed upon arrival. I would be grateful for any help I can get. Thank you!
April 2, 2020
Thursday, Day 485
God convicted me this morning about being frustrated because of the turn of events. You see, I had intended by now to have had my final response to my attorneys and the government replies in regard to my 2255 before Judge Arcara. This is where I asked him to vacate my sentence due to the ineffective council since they failed to inform me that Lisa Miller’s motive (her daughters abuse), and hence my “aiding and abetting“ for which I was convicted, was a legitimate defense for a parent removing a child from the country.
My hope was that by now this final response would be in its finals stages….ready to be sent to the Judge. “D,” my “jailhouse lawyer,” who is a fellow believer, kept telling me we should not rush it, and now, once again, because of the near complete lockdown, I am forced to delay once again. Why would this pandemic (COVID- 19/corona virus) happen now? Even though it arrived at the prison Tuesday, I wasn’t able to acquire the government’s final response until this afternoon, which requires a week or more “D” (mailing it home to be photo-copied and sent to him and back to me). Only at that point can “D” begin to finalize the document, yet he has no means to get it typed while we are under lockdown.
Basically, we are at a standstill at the point I thought God would miraculously be sending me home! Why?
On top of all of this, Kathie has now been sick, running a low-grade fever now for three weeks, and she tells me how desperately she needs me home, and I am able to communicate with her very little. Yet here I sit, stymied by circumstance out of anyone’s control.
But this morning, God spoke to me clearly, and I was forced to repent. Due to the circumstances, “D“ emailed William, my son, with the verbiage and instructions how to file an extension request both in regard to the 2255 matter and the April 15 deadline for me to have selected a new attorney in the civil lawsuit in Vermont. The Lord revealed to me this opportunity to delay both matters is actually a blessing, but without the chaos ensuing, as a result of the pandemic, there would be no legitimate excuse for such a delay. A delay for which there are very good strategic and timing reasons. As difficult as it is to spend additional days away from home and confined to a 7 x 9 cell with another man, there are good reasons for God allowing this to happen, the Lord told me.
First, “D“ may require more time to prepare my final filing allowing less rushed contemplation in attempt to answer each and every doubt the judge may have pertaining to every facet of the legitimate case for vindication we have built. God’s timing is always best, not ours, and we must be patient!
Secondly, God is working here within our unit. This may provide further opportunity to speak into the lives of others. “W” has been sharing his newfound faith in Christ with nearly everyone, and I believe the Holy Spirit is dealing with Sam. The guard on evening shift gave permission for him to come to my cell to study the Bible. How awesome is that? “W” treasures these times of study together, as do I, times we thought we’re going to have to stop completely during these two weeks of quarantine.
And also, Kathie and I must be patient and endure. Please pray for us.
In His Service,
Let’s hear the story in Isabella’s words:
“You see, my mother (before I was even a thought) had a lesbian relationship with another woman and they went to Vermont to get a civil union because same-sex marriage had not yet been legalized in Virginia. I was born in Virginia in 2002, and my mom, Lisa, is my birth mother. Janet Jenkins was ‘my other mother.’
“Something marvelous happened to my mom – she was gloriously saved and became a committed Christian, leaving the homosexual lifestyle, dissolving the civil union, and that’s when all the trouble began.
“Janet wanted visitation with me. She wasn’t my real mom; she wasn’t even a relative; in fact, given the opportunity twice, she refused to adopt me. So the court battles began – first, in Virginia, then in Vermont, then in Virginia, then in Vermont and on and on.
“Visitation was set up and began erratically and haphazardly – missed visits, miscommunications. Finally, there were unsupervised visitations. As a 7-year old, I started wetting the bed, having nightmares and wanting to commit suicide; I was under terrible emotional distress, which the courts totally ignored.
“My mom stopped the visitation. The judge in Vermont was not happy, and he was going to give me to Janet as a result of my mom’s disregard for the court orders.
“On September 27, 2009, my mom and I fled the country.”
Age progression to age 18.
Isabella can return to the U.S. when she is 18 and would need support for school and living expenses. 419 Fund has created a Funding Opportunity to support Isabella when she returns to the United States free from the courts. If you would like to contribute, 419 Fund and Lisa and Isabella would be very grateful.