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Book details
  • Genre:RELIGION
  • SubGenre:Christian Ministry / Counseling & Recovery
  • Language:English
  • Pages:410
  • eBook ISBN:9781098303907

Involuntary MISSION

In China with a Thorn in the Flesh

by Tim Ulmer

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When I had a seizure while teaching in China, what was I to do when the university's vice president wouldn't shake hands with me because he thought epilepsy was a contagious disease? Or when a university Communist officer said I was fired to prevent a "political disaster", what was I to do? Why stay in China when a director at a different university of law told me that my "parents must be very evil" to let me travel alone with epilepsy? Or what would I do when my mother begged me to come home because of the SARS pandemic in Wuhan? I stayed because after a life of feeling that I'd been cursed by God for some reason. People were seeing that I wasn't what they expected of "materialistic, obnoxious war-like" Americans. They trusted me while they were Looking for a different way of life than Communism, and God wanted me to help these people. They learned to trust me, and that I'd be patient and let them have time to digest the words God used me to speak for Him so that they would make the decision to accept him for themselves. Just as it was for me. I BECAME PROUD TO BE EPILEPTIC! That was part of God's plan all along as a key to their hearts. The seizures never hindered me from anything I wanted to do. My parents raised me to believe in serving others, and that to meant to me that I'd do something that would be big enough to make me historically popular. Before I was 18, the greatest service I could give was being willing to die in the military. However, my epileptic history meant the Armed Forces would have nothing to do with me. My life's purpose was lost! Car wrecks, unemployment, moving to my parents' to recover my witts I never would have survived if my friend Lauren hadn't called me every night and repeat that there was a reason no one was ever hurt in those car wrecks: "It's not your time to die. God has a MISSION for you." God hears our prayers; Just be patient, and He answers them in His own time and in ways greater than we'd imagined.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find."—Matthew 7:7 Everyone's heard that, but whether they take it seriously depends on how quickly a prayer is answered and if God packaged it differently than they had expected. Another axiom, "Everyone has a mission." Often, Tim Ulmer admired the great people in history books more for their character than for their achievements, especially when they were epileptic. He has seizures, also, and envied people like Julius Caesar, Einstein, and Plato who significantly impacted mankind. If the Greeks' 'Genius Disease' didn't stop them from being famous, it shouldn't stop him either. He was going to pledge his life to fighting for the USA against communism and all other enemies. The complex-partial seizures he'd had since the age of 2 were mild and didn't keep him from being an achiever, so their wretched fangs weren't bared fully at him until his teens, when epilepsy kept him from driving. Soon, it ravaged him like a T-rex when it kept him out of the military. It left him in a heap, aching to find another big mission he could do for history. A political career came out of the mist. But he left God out of the equation. After college, Tim left the Illinois farmlands for a business in Chicago that he knew would pay for politics. He was aware that epilepsy was shadowing him, but he didn't care and drove a car since his seizures weren't as disabling as tonic-clonic (gran-mal). He'd keep functioning, but he just never remembered later on what he'd done. It took 4 car wrecks and a final wreck with a semi to make him jobless, penniless, and with nothing to do except move in with his parents in a village. Suicidal thoughts even followed. Tim humored a friend who insisted that since no one was ever hurt in those accidents, including him, he wasn't meant to die yet. She swore that God had a big mission for Tim; which was why none of his plans had worked. However, it was a "break" for him, not a blessing, when the State paid for him to return to college and get a degree in TV. Producers at the show, The Young and the Restless, wanted to hire him after an internship, but the T-rex devoured that when Tim had a seizure at its studio. It kept him from other jobs. A minister in LA told him what the Bible said about epilepsy. Best of all, he said that experts think that the "thorn in the flesh" that St. Paul asked God to remove was epilepsy! Paul's seizures made God be seen stronger! He returned to Illinois to help care for his mother, but that was a facade. He worked at a local TV station, but epilepsy cost him a full-time job. A reporter he'd teamed with left to teach English in China and urged him to follow her. Doing anything for that nation made him nauseous. They had a spy in our nuclear weapons lab, paid for a president's re-election, crash-landed a US Navy airplane. And its human rights were atrocious! It seemed treasonous to him to teach a skill to anyone Chinese! Eventually, medical side-effects that made him feel like he was drowning into oblivion motivated him to accept a job at a Chinese university. Once, as he recovered from a seizure during class, students wanted to know why his "sickness" didn't scare him. He shrugged that God had saved his life at least 5 times, and he could get killed just as easily at home, so why not travel? Upon mentioning God, people began asking him to tell them about Christianity in private. The school told him to leave because it considered him to be "contagious". In two years, he taught in 5 cities, and was asked about Jesus everywhere. That's when he knew his prayer to serve the US hadn't been ignored. He'd needed to find God first and his epilepsy was the means by which God steered him. Serving God, too, impacted more people than if he had gotten into the military. Tim is proud to be epileptic. He has created a TV show called "Epilepsy Gangster" so others with epilepsy can discover their missions in life.
About the author
Tim Ulmer is proud to be epileptic! Complex-partial seizures began before school-age. The "funny" feeling of auras didn't scare him since seizures follow every time. He didn't feel epilepsy's grip until he didn't get to drive like other teens. He wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on thousands and become famous, so being rejected to serve in the in the military was the worst thing imaginable to him. Political hopes didn't work because losing control of his epilepsy interfered with the job he thought would finance it. Since he kept functioning during his complex-partial seizures, unlike tonic-clonic (gran mal) seizures do, he kept driving busy Chicago roads. He just wasn't aware of what he was doing and it caused 5 wrecks. It wasn't until a semi-truck mashed his car that he quit driving. Jobless, without savings, and being emotionally unstable, all he could do was move in with his parents. He felt hopeless. His best friend, Lorinda, was unyielding that it hadn't been his time to die: particularly since no one was ever hurt in the wrecks. She was convinced that God had a mission for Tim. Tim hadn't been sure whether God had a hand when the State paid for him to return to college and study TV. The #1 soap opera, The Young and the Restless was ready to hire him after an internship, but a seizure in the studio ended that. Other shows treated Tim the same way in LA. Time wasn't wasted in LA. He asked his minister whether Jesus healed epilepsy. He had, and It thrilled Tim to learn that many believed that epilepsy was the "thorn from my flesh" that God refused to remove from St. Paul because His greatness would be seen in Paul's weakness. If Paul could make God look strong by being able to do his achievements despite epilepsy, it shouldn't stop Tim, either. He returned to his parents in Illinois and got a job as a local TV news producer; but epilepsy kept it from being full-time. Questioning whether he would ever amount to anything started again. He told his neurologist he wouldn't try the brain surgery because it would be in the area where writing and communicative skills were, and that's where his strength seemed to be. When a reporter he worked with suggested that he join her teaching English in China, he was nauseous. Why help a country that didn't respect human rights? It criminalized religion. Its agent spied at the US's nuclear weapons lab; it paid a US presidential candidate, and its air force made a Navy plane crash-land on Hainan Island. His dad was afraid his anger would trigger a seizure! He took an English teacher's job at a university to learn more, like a journalist. Regardless of Chinese media's anti-American rhetoric, his students easily became friends; And it surprised them to like an American. China's knowledge of epilepsy is in the Dark Ages! Graduate students in his classes had never seen a seizure until he had one. They asked why he wasn't afraid to be in a foreign land with this "disease"? It puzzled them when he told them that God had already proven to him that he would be safe. That started many to ask him questions about God and Jesus in private to avoid the police. However, administrators thought that epilepsy was a "contagious disease" and fired him. He went to 6 schools, including the #1 Chinese law school. Making friends each time was followed by questions him the same questions about Christianity. He would be fired after a seizure, and have to move. Tim realized then that God had been saving him 40 years for a mission that was greater than he ever could have done in the Navy, and Tim liked being covert. His cursed epilepsy was just the means by which God moved him to his next "assignment". Now that he has a wife and daughter, a VNS controls his seizures. He more excited than ever. He's a speaker, author, and is the creator/producer of a TV series about epilepsy awareness that will be seen on the Inspiration TV Network on Amazon Prime & Roku.