We have run across quite a few ex-gangsters who were converted through churches from their life of crime into assets for our community. In Astoria Melissa Kimiadi knocked on a door of a small church in Astoria. She was wearing her "Vibram Five Finger" shoes that fit like a glove on one's feet but which we have nicknamed dragon shoes. Brother James Stewart warily opened the door and the first thing he saw were the green dragon shoes. He thought, what is that? He opened the door wide open. There he was, a strong ex-con facing our small interviewer. She was by herself. She asked if she could come and do an interview. Stewart told her, "You're the first one who opened the door wide."
The result is a remarkable story of redemption, courage and faith. Stay tuned this week for the story.