KRISTIAN Rimene left a notorious life as a drug dealer to become a regular volunteer for one of Brisbane’s drop-in centres for the city’s vulnerable.
Mr Rimene, a former security guard from Christchurch, New Zealand, moved to New South Wales in 2000, working for some of the Sydney’s most “influential people” in the clubbing scene.
After moving to the Gold Coast in 2003, he took his first pill and almost three years later became “one of the biggest drug dealers in Brisbane”.
“Around 2004 (or) 2005, I met a few people on the way, they helped me get involved in the drug scene and before you know it, I lost track of who I was as a person and I became one of the biggest drug dealers in Brisbane,” Mr Rimene said.
For four years he moved “everything under the sun”, from boxes of drugs to weapons, and escaped death a number of times.
In 2008 Mr Rimene said he “woke up to myself” and threw away the dealing lifestyle, taking residence at a homeless shelter run by the Salvation Army.
There he met Roby Curtis, the founder of Blind Eye Ministries, a new outreach serving the city’s homeless.
The drop-in centre is run by the Emmanuel Community, a Catholic covenant community.
“In 2008, Emmanuel Community were putting on a function around Easter time, a Lent function,” Mr Rimene said.
“They were going to the two hostels to feed the homeless.
“I walked out having eaten fish and chips and Roby just pulled up in his van and he introduced himself.”
Although he didn’t realise Mr Curtis was from a Catholic community, the simple introduction became a turning point in his life.
In 2010, Mr Rimene “wiped the slate clean” and stopped his drug activity and considered moving forward in his faith.
His faith even stepped in when, in 2010, members of an infamous gang trying to extort him shot Mr Rimene in the back.
“From there I caught a bus, instead of getting myself fixed up, (and) I went to church,” he said.
A year later, Mr Rimene made a decision to become a Catholic and was baptised and received into full communion by Blind Eye Ministries chaplain Fr Tony Girvan.
Mr Rimene and other men and women whose lives have changed because of Blind Eye Ministries will share their stories at a street appeal dinner on Thursday (November 5).
Mr Curtis said the event was open to all people keen to “join in their exciting mission to Brisbane’s most vulnerable”.
Tickets cost $50 a person and include meals and drinks but space is limited.
Contact Roby Curtis on 0433 544 253 to purchase a ticket.
– Emilie Ng