As a first time writer, I believe that I have written an extraordinary work of non-fiction, for I have truly lived an unimaginable life. There is nothing glamorous about this story, and I make no excuses, “No obstacle too great” invites you on a riveting roller coaster ride, as it’s a journey through a life that has been nothing short of a shattered and tormented existence, which in its wake of forty-six years, has transformed itself by the Grace of God, from the unimaginable, to the extraordinary.
“I have faced many obstacles throughout my life,and none of it really mattered ! Not the twenty-five years of criminality, not the fourteen years I spent in prison, nor the thirty-five years of alcoholism, or the twelve years within narcotic drug addiction. All this in itself made my life very complicated, however to understand the true nature of unimpenetrable hardships, now add to the already incomprehensible horrors of my life, the devastating and incurable HIV infection, which on three seperate ocassions, having come out of remission, threatened to extinquish my life. None of this mattered more than trying to understand the Why, or more specifically What had for most of my life, left me colder than that iceberg that sank the Titanic .”
It has not only been through my writing, but more so within the struggles of positive changes, that in themselves can only be attributed to that of Divine Intervention. Within this journey I have faced and come to terms with my most paralyzing fears, unraveling the mysteries of my tormented life. However in order to truly understand the why, one must first fully explore the often painful, yet complicated paradoxes between our tormented yesterdays, and the struggles of today. As its within our past and present that we will find the answers to a more successful tomorrow.
“The answers although brutal, haunting and complex, declare themselves in each chapter”
In life,if you find a road without obstacles,it probably doesn’t lead anywhere
Everything about this book presently remains in its original form, as it was written by me in 2001. In 2004,I first self published my work through WindShift Press here in Canada. Although the reviews I recieved were in themselves powerful, without the proper promotion and exposure, the book sat collecting dust. After speaking at a local high school a few times, I re-wrote, or should I say I one finger typed No obstacle again, weaving my ten thousand word speech into its body. In 2006 I again self published through Rosedog Publishing in the States. Again as is true of our own lives, things are not as they appear to be.
It definitely wasn’t by accident, chance or any preconceived plan that now in my fiftieth year, I found myself on the steps of the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church here in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. I remember this particular night very vividly in my mind, it was the beginning of November, and as was my nature, I had arrived early. There was a slight chill in the breezy coolness of the evening air; however the spine wrenching chills that now penetrated the depths of my soul, had absolutely nothing to do with the weather. Although I was still trying with difficulty to grasp the significance of divine intervention, and the role it’s unquestionably played within my life, I was about to jump my greatest hurdle and accept Jesus as my personal savior, and be baptized in His name.
As I nervously paced back and forth in a restless apprehension within the church’s inner courtyard, my thoughts frantically raced in many different directions, and everything for the moment seemed to be beyond my immediate comprehension. I was gripped within a combination of thoughts or were they in actuality revelations, that momentarily embraced me, not so much in fear, but more so in a reverent awe. Within an unknown familiarity, I had carefully been studying this historical church from many angles, and noticed that it had not only weathered many of its own storms throughout its colorful history, but within its determined persistency, resisted and overcome all of life’s obstacles. Suddenly any clarification I needed regarding the hardships of my life, and what it all meant, my answers now seemed to be found within the rustic nature of the church’s very appearance, where I saw my own persistent and determined character etched within its rugged beauty. It was within those brief precious seconds that I somehow grasped with conviction, that Christ all along knew the circumstances of my life.
As the church is now considering the possibility of re-publishing my book into its third life, the only exceptions have been made to the dedications, the introduction, and to the offensive language, which I had decided to omit from the text as well.
The writing of this book was in and of itself at times not only a very painful experience, but in the same breath, has become an invaluable journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening. My life as I’ve now come to understand it has played itself out within God’s molding process in four different stages, and the following story is but the tip of the iceberg. I am almost near completion of my second manuscript entittled ” In memory of an angel “, and well into my third work of non-fiction ” Leaves in the wind “, which are continuations to an already incredible life, however it is within these pages, and what lies beyond “No obstacle too great”, that truly gives God’s Majestic Grace its breathlessness.
In considering myself somewhat of a writer, especially in words of a non-fictional description, its then within this capacity that I now assume an even greater responsibility. For when in words of this very nature, I must be ever so careful in their structure, as they will in one form or another leave an impact upon people’s lives. The beauty within the truth and conviction of my shattered life will only be measured by the extent of its influential appreciation. Without having the benefit of a full education, nor ever having been schooled towards being a writer.I have, through my greatest internal struggles come to understand and accept the reality, that I have been entrusted by what can only in all its definitions be considered a gift, that is not of this world”. Even tougher was the understanding that this gift was not for my benefit, instead its purpose was to be a blessing to others.
The facts within my written testimony will undisputedly give evidence that God Himself directed the steps of my life, and is sitting mightily upon His Throne, and preparing for the return of our Blessed Savior Jesus Christ. As seen throughout the irrefutable written word, from the beginning of creation, regardless of the brutalities within oppressive dictatorships, or the catastrophes that have continually hammered each successive generation, or the acts of war, that have continually threatened, to weaken and stagger the progression of mankind. Regardless of the devastating addictions, or the incomprehensible illnesses that not only continue to cripple humanity daily, but within their path of destruction, disable entire communities, and threaten nations as a whole. “God has throughout the ages, within every generation, brought forward an abundance of prophetic voices from all nations. These are His chosen ambassadors, messengers elect, who within their own powerful testimonies, can, have and will continue to deliver His people from the suffocating bondages, unleashed by the enemy of all Righteousness.
In writing these words, I am fearful to place myself even within a consideration of such a privileged position, however when in reflection of my life, one can’t but help marvel at the extraordinary night and day differences, or the seemingly impossible positive transformations. Never within my sorrowful life was there anything that would substantiate my being a man of great wisdom, nor was there any indication that my life was destined for anything other than misery and suffering, as within its first forty years, it had certainly played itself out in the very pits of hell. Of my own resources I could never, ever have changed the course of my destructive life, although without unquestionable dispute, I am a living testimony to the fact that Our Lord God does in fact hear our cry of help, and it does not matter whether this plea was one of faith or unbelief, as the two walk hand in hand. As long as we allow ourselves to be molded by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, God will heal and restore all the broken pockets of our lives, to heights greater than their original state. My own perception of my very existence could be tragically summed up within the following metaphor;
“For a moment, try to imagine during the beginning stages of your life being abandoned in the middle of a raging sea, left alone without the benefit of even a life preserver. Each of my years had brought its own thundering wave crashing down upon me, threatening to shallow me in its darkest depth. With an unexplainable willpower, I battled each treacherous wave. In reaching its peak and briefly catching my breath, as I aimlessly drifted into the next unknown valley. I’m once again drawn into an unrestrained despair, longing for my life itself to cease, as on the horizon I see the next hideous wave approaching with a terrifying ferociousness. Through many years of painful reflection, I’ve come to understand with a clearer appreciation, that something far greater than anything within myself, had not only kept me afloat, but instilled within me a persistent and determined desire to rise above anything life had to offer. ”
From my earliest childhood within its innocent purity there was a sexual molestation, which left its filthy stain and torturously haunted the deepest corridors of my mind. There was insurmountable instability due in part to parental abandonment, as they pursued their own selfish wants and needs above those of their children, which ingrained within my personality, a deep rooted dysfunctional insecurity. At fifteen years old I began my thirty-five year battle with chronic alcoholism. One year later I embarked on a life of crime, prison survival and violence that spanned the next twenty years, of which fourteen were spent in various prisons. At thirty-years of age I became a narcotic drug addict as well, which I battled for the following twelve years. If such a life wasn’t in itself enough to drive you to the brink of insanity, buckle your seat belt as it gets worse. As a result of my addictions and unpredictable behaviors I was told I have the HIV infection, and that my life would be very short-lived. Twelve years have now passed since that devastating diagnosis, and as I am writing these very words, without any hesitancy, beyond a shadow of a doubt, or a murmur of uncertainty, I know that God Himself delivered me to Emmanuel Pentecostal church to be baptized in His name. Yes the reality clearly now exists within my mind, that my life, before its very conception, to this very moment in time, had been pre-orchestrated for a specific and meaningful purpose.” God within His glory is using the circumstances of my shattered and tormented life as a further means of restoring the blind to sight. ”
Something I wrote and believe in very much:
Moving mountains and walking on the water
Every addiction along with every negative behavior or influence in our lives, is a mountain, and when in sincerety and committment give that mountain to God, within each day of abstinence, the mountain takes a step away from us. Eventually it disapears from our sight, no longer having any signifigance in our lives, therefore we have just went from what was once a crippling impossibility, to a living reality, and just like peter we too now walk on the water…
The powerful transformations within God’s Majestic molding process began in 1997, my fortieth year. This was the year that my life had literally lost all its meaning, and it was while in serious thoughts of self extinction, that I had somehow for the first time found the courage to ask God for a miracle…It’s very strange that I would make such a request, for I had never within my life embraced a true faith or belief, and wasn’t sure if I was even capable of ever doing this, for there never within my life existed a hope that could have been extinguished. Almost from birth, my mind had been a continual habitation of demons, where the very powers, and principalities of darkness themselves have manipulated my life, like a puppet on a string. It has only been through deep reflection, while exploring the complicated and entwined paradoxes that made up my life, between the issues of right and wrong, to distinguishing reality from the painted illusions I had created within this complex puzzle which represented my mind, that the evidence clearly now in my mind manifests itself. Christ within the helplessness of my circumstances had patiently carried me, and it did not matter whether it was in faith or unbelief, He was waiting for my cry of help, which would “ignite that unknown spark of hope with a fierce and persistent determination.”
In the bible, the book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-seven tells about a valley full of dry bones, where God himself asks Ezekiel if he believes, whether He, Lord God can bring these bones back to life. Our very own lives, whether viewed through the hardships of our circumstances, or those suffocating nooses of crippling addictions and devastating illnesses, represent that very same valley of dry bones. The questions we must often find ourselves in need of an answer are; can our faith allow us to believe that God can restore our dry bones back to life? Where does this faith come from, and how does one get it! Rest assured, entertaining the reality of God within your life, is not an exercise of futility! How can I be sure of this? From that very moment ten years ago, in my brokenness and unbelief, when I called upon the Lord, God has miraculously blessed my life many times, while continuously tapping me on the shoulder trying to capture my attention, and until a year ago, I didn’t even know it.
As with anything in this life, nothing comes easy, to be successful there is a progression of events within that process, and this as well includes entering the kingdom of Heaven. As my words come from a heart that was once encrusted within layers of hardened callousness, I empathetically understand that it’s easier said than done, when I ask you to believe that not only is faith in itself is a powerful gift of transforming grace, but that within us there exists an awesome God, who can and will restore the shattered pieces of our lives. It’s never easy, always remember that even for those that profess a long fellowship in Christ, have a hard time with faith. Having been at the end of my rope many times throughout my life, I’m very familiar within the concept from an unbeliever’s perspective, or those struggling with unpredictable addictions, and incomprehensible illnesses, to that person who for the first time enters a church, never having known the Lord. It’s almost second nature, and certainly within thier world of dysfunctional familiarity, it’s much easier for them to readily accept the harshness of their existence as fate, or just the way the cards of life were dealt to them, rather than trying to grasp the immeasurable reality of God. However as long as you continue to hang on to this delusional thinking, you will never have anything greater than surviving yet another day, as your life continues within it’s daily grind of disparity and hopelessness.
Faith in it’s most simplistic nature has always been within our grasp, and the key to unlocking its mystery lies in these very words. ” In order to have a faith you first must have a belief, to have a belief there must be an acknowledgement of a higher power, a super natural force greater than yourself, which has been guiding the very steps of your life! Our most painful journey, and I just can’t stress it enough will be that one of internal reflection, especially more so in terms of a destructive life, as it’s there that the very foundations of change or growth of any kind must first begin. Sometimes it sounds as though the preacher is trying to sell us an elusive treasure map, which is definitely not the case. It’s only when you look deep within yourself, you’ll not only come to understand that all those night and day differences within your life are the map, and that you within their definitions, are the immeasurable treasure. Once fully explored, the possibilities of the unknown will be awakened, and you to will begin to realize the unlimited realities within the world of the impossible.It’s there that you’ll begin to find that undeniable faith.
As a result of my testimony, should you recieve the benefit of insightfullness, that would in itself alter the course of your life, especially if it were of a destructive nature, or if you recieve any hope, and encouragement, as to overcoming the hardships of addictions, circumstances, or coping with an unsufferable illness,”don’t thank me, for this book and the ones to follow were never about me, give praise to God above. I believe with a firm conviction that my writing, is a gift from God, which could be His way of taking the sting out of my own sufferings.
Throughout my life all the signs of Divine Intervention had always been present, from crippling addictions, to the night and day differences of positive changes. Amidst it all, I walked within the shadows of death itself, where failure almost always appeared as a welcomed luxury, as I continually wrestled with the incurable, yet devastating hardship of the HIV infection, which threatened on many fronts to extinguish my very life. Whether I was in search of this faith, or inadvertently running away from it, ten long years passed before I was to grasp the significance, and very reverence of divine intervention, and the role it’s played in my life. This supernatural, yet mystical force that in its Supremacy, as I’ve now come to understand and accept it, is God on the Throne, had not abandoned me, but instead embraced me within His merciful tenderness, and continued within His graceful beauty, to transform a life that was all but lost…
I now know that throughout my severest trials, and the greatest storms of my weathered life, it was God alone who had within those storms, been my life preserver. If only we could truly see and envision that those night and differences throughout our lives, could in fact be those cross-roads within their own mythical nature, where our physical world and the spiritual one meet. It’s within this interpretation, that this book is dedicated to the Everlasting Glory of God…
I wish to extend prayers of deep and eternal gratitude to my best friend Bonnie Wilson, whom by the grace of God has been one of the greatest night and day, differences in my life. Without her influential encouragement and spiritual guidance, I would still be walking about aimlessly lost. Her unwavering loyalty of friendship, gives this word within her graceful elegance, a divine definition all of its own. She has truly left an everlasting trail of footprints, engraved deep within my heart…At times it seemed like she had called in her own personal excavation crew, as together we sat within countless hours, while in reflection of my weathered life, and searched the very depths of my tortured soul. I’ m not sure how it happened, but she had melted the coldness that for so long had imprisoned my heart, and once she had peeled away all the calloused layers, mystically like on the wings of a dove while at the altar with me, gave it to God. If there were no tomorrow, I would want her to always know that I consider her friendship, after our Lord Jesus, the greatest gift of my life.
Also a great thanks to Pastor David Jobson, for he had made it perfectly clear to me that within any church, membership was never meant to be, nor should it ever be, a prerequisite in the path of baptism. His passion alone was in my desire to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Ministries around the world should grasp the significance within these words of wisdom.” Anyone whose heart has finally opened, expressing a desire for baptism, which may in and of itself have arose from within, but a moment of Divine Revelation. Therefore God’s servants should clearly understand the importance and careful attention now necessary which is greatly dependant upon their unwavering faithfulness. For it’s within this leap of faith that any hesitation, unwillingness, or the slightest inattention and neglect within the significance of baptism, will all weigh heavily on the balancing scale towards a successful conversion.”
My deepest appreciation and respect is given to the widely recognized Pastor Paul Reynolds, Bishop of the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church, here in British Columbia, Canada. It was in listening to his message.” It’s the second birth that counts” that for the first time in forty years, I was truly able to grasp the uniqueness of forgiveness, which made all my bitterness and resentments completely insignificant. Within their own instrumental sphere of patience, wisdom and spiritual enrichment, these Saints of God entered my life in what can only be described as a welcomed sweet smelling gentle mist, as their presence continues to embrace the depths of my very soul.
“My greatest sense of contribution and fufillment has been in the fact that somehow from my unbelievable struggles, all those that have thus far read No obstacle too great, as seen by the inspiring testimonials have felt it’s impact, which in some way has made a difference in their lives…”
I just finished your book,No Obstacle Too Great.Thanks again for the signed copy of the book-Adrienne and I were thrilled to receive it. Here is a copy of my review:
Reading Mino Pavlic’s memoir No Obstacle Too Great ,I felt like a voyeur watching a man’s life unfold.Beginning with his childhood and adolescence moving across countries and between continents,then continuing through his adult years spent in and out of prison,and struggling with addiction,and finally finishing with his recent struggles to turn his life around.
Mino gives the reader a sense of his life’s history through detailed vignettes.For those of us who are unfamiliar with the world of crime,incarceration,and hard-core drug addiction,No Obstacle Too Great,provides a poignant picture of a life very different from our own.The memoir reveals a man moving from living in the moment to contemplating his past,present,and future.The content is complelling,but so too is the writing; that someone who has gone through so much pain could write so freely about it.The book is a window through which the process of one man’s change and development is revealed.
No Obstacle Too Great allows the reader a glimpse into the author’s life and a world many of us choose to ignore,and into how life is lived more fully through reflection and connection.
BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Canadian clinical Trials Network
5th Floor,ST.Paul’s Hospital
I could not put the book down. I was mesmerized. I have never read a book where the author does not make excuses or shift blame for criminal behaviors that led to many times behind bars. He led a bad life and does not try to say it was his upbringing or other factors. He takes responsibility for his own actions.It is up front and says it exactly as it was. I would recommend this book be required reading in every single school and library for children everywhere to read and serve as an example to save many of them from going down the wrong road. It proves that no matter how bad a person is,he can change if he really puts his mind to it and realizes what his actions has caused. In this case the result is very sad but it is good that it is not the end result. I really enjoyed this book and read it twice already and plan to read it some more.
Rose Fromenthal.Morgan City,Louisianna,U.S.A
I am very impressed by how the author has written his story and it makes you feel as if you are right there reliving his experiences. It is the reality of what life of crime is truly all about and the consequences that he himself is paying dearly for by being HIV positive from drug use. Today this would be perfect book for kids to show them that what they may think as cool and tough behavior with friends may end in fatal consequences. If he can save one kid I think this book is worth to share. He is living proof that a person can reverse a path of crime and instead of leaving a legacy of violence can leave a legacy of peace. He is not afraid to renounce the violent life he led publicly and he lets others see where such a life leads and it is not a pretty picture. His story reaches out and grips you in a way that you never forget.He should be honored for his courage to speak out against the way of life that he led for most of his life. He can be used as an example for anybody that has problems that they feel they can’t overcome. He shows that anything is possible.
Caitlan Singetary.Morgan City,Louisianna.U.S.A.
To Whom It May Concern
Re: Mino Pavlic
In the Spring of 2005 Mr. Pavlic addressed my Criminology 12 class at Mission Secondary. For an hour Mino wound through his personal story of choices and consequences, drug addiction and crime, failure and success and then answered difficult questions with candor and sincerity. I was pleased my students had the opportunity to share his experiences and hear his message.
Mino puts a face to the dark stranger, the East End addict, the H.I.V. infected patient facing and struggling with the results of his choices. He offers himself as an example and speaks with passion against substance abuse of all kinds. He does not minimize the small steps in the beginning, but links each step, each choice, to outcomes and possible tradgedy. He is an effective anti-drug spokesperson.
Mino’s message is also about hope, the will to succeed, and the ability to meet challenges. No Obstacle Too Great contains an important message and is a message of what can be achieved if one has the will and confidence. The writing of the book stands as an example to young adults facing graduation and wondering if they are capable of fulfilling their dreams.
I am pleased to support Mino’s quest to tell his story. He is passionate about helping others and I believe he has a significant contribution to make.
Comments from John Howard Society
Thanks again for coming over and sharing your experience, strength and hope. Here’s a snapshot of staff comments and a few other observations. There is no judgement here, only open and honest observations.
We are genuinely impressed with your courage and desire to help others. We have respect for what you have achieved in putting your past in the past.
As for your relationship with the Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, please be assured that we consider ourselves as equals as we, too, are not perfect and are still growing. We feel in terms of public speaking that you are kind of like a diamond in the rough. Our recommendation is to come over and hear one of our more experienced speakers with the door left open for further discussions. It is important that you hear that we want to continue the relationship.
Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, British Columbia, Canada
“I would never have believed that any normal man could have endured such hardship in his life, and yet, make such a turn around. ”
Rebecca L-A Cadger, Security, Douglas College
“It is well written, with humor mixed with passion and very factual. The prison system certainly is an eye opener and I think this book would be good for all youngsters in this day and time to read…this book is evident that Mino Pavlic has tremendous perseverance. He never gives up, no matter how many times he is knocked down, he continues to pick himself up and he doesn’t stop until he gets it right.”
Doreen Kreschuk, Groupwise, Douglas College, British Columbia Canada.
“I don’t know how you survived, but you did and I’m grateful that this book came out of all your trials and tribulations. Anyone who believes they are struggling against the odds in whatever circumstances can gain inspiration from your story.” Chris Gibson, Dept;of student development. Douglas College. New Westminister, British Columbia, Canada.
“Remarkable story of great courage, determination, fortitude and endurance of spirit against seemingly insurmountable odds. An epic human story in a rapidly changing social environment.”
Doctor Webb, Helen Anna and Marilyn
I have been a member of Fanstory.com for a number of years. It’s a site composed of writers from around the world. To date I have over 500 inspirational reviews in regards to all of my writing, and I humbly share the following ones:
You write about having a future purpose for your life and dealing with past atrocities, I can relate to both. I often wonder for what purpose God saved my life after suffering from years of mental and emotional abuse and depression, after surviving a breakdown. I discovered what I thought that purpose was several years ago and it’s a revelation I wasn’t ready for. You have an undeniably powerful testimony to share.
Comment Written 31-Jul-2006
This is very powerful writing. It makes me sick to think of all the things that you have experienced and gotten involved in. You describe a hard road but then I see that writing is your salvation. Keep it up.
Comment Written 30-Jul-2006
You know, no_obstacle, as I read your book I can see a very strong and determined man. The trials and tribulations you have gone thru, some men, would never have been able to handle it. With the strength and wisdom God has given you, you ARE going to beat this disease. Good Luck in your journey for a full recovery. My prayers are with you.
Comment Written 09-Jun-2006
richie m wrote,
LIFE IS BASICALLY A JOURNEY HOME–PURE AND SIMPLE! HOW WE COMPLETE THAT JOURNEY AND WHO WE IMPACT WITH ALONG THE WAY IS UP TO US.SOME OF US LIVE MORE THAN 100 YEARS AND EXPIRE PRETTY MUCH WITHOUT A RIPPLE, WHILE OTHERS HAVE A MUCH SHORTER SPAN –FACE HUGE OBSTACLES– AND INSPIRE GENERATIONS.
THANKS FOR YOUR INSPIRATION!
Adora Bayles wrote,
Dear No Obstacle: Your wonderful story ought to be told to the whole world. You write well and the story is truly compelling. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for the insight.
Comment Written 29-Apr-2006
First of all, I want you to know that I will not read too many book chapters… I feel unworthy jumping in the middle, so to speak. I was drawn to read this one. I am glad I did. All alone, it stands. It can be its own essay… and a good one. yes, it need a little tightening, but that is not a problem here… people can help with that. This is very unique. very wonderful. I work with kids who are ready for this type of life… this type of hell… you have presented it fairly… like.. you said… it becomes the end result of life. Yet you still try and try and try to escape. That is the nature of man. We are called by God to freedom. May I use a few sentences from this chapter when I talk to “my” kids…. like this one:
I don’t care who you are, or how tough you think you are. Never disillusion yourself; prison will emotionally, physically and mentally cripple you in ways unimaginable. I’ve seen and participated in countless acts of barbaric violence, I did this without regret or even a hint of remorse. Just as you would cover an innocent baby in its crib with a blanket, to embrace it in its warmness. So too was the environment of prison embracing me in its own blanket.
You are on your way to the Light… to the Truth… I can feel it.
Comment Written 28-Apr-2006.
Thanks in taking the time to consider my amazing real life drama. I’ve included a direct link to Rosedog,