Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Hungarian Brass

Today, our music group, The Hungarian Brass, gave a rousing concert here in the town where we live, Biatorbagy, Hungary. We were at the Reformed Church [Presbyterian]. The acoustics in that church are very good. Therefore, our musicians played very well as they enjoyed where they were playing. My, what a good sound! Lynne and I have been talking about the concert and we are both very excited. It was fun!

We had four trombones [including me], three trumpets and a french horn ... 8 of us all total. Lynne joined us at the keyboard. It was a strong group with a great sound. Sounds like I am boasting, but, let me tell you, I am the weakest player in the group. It was a joy for me to play with such talented musicians.

Some of the people who came had never been to a brass concert before. One woman was worried about the sound thinking it would be overwhelming with so many instruments. But, she said that she was very pleasantly surprised that the balance was so good and that the music was so enjoyable to hear. Two other ladies echoed her opinion. It was fun to put smiles on their faces.

Did I tell you that today was a great day? What fun!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the Trenches: Church Planters

For the last six days I have stayed with two different couples who are church planters in Montenegro. One couple resides in the capital city, Podgorica, and I stayed with them for one night. The second couple lives in Niksic, the 2nd largest city in this country, and I stayed with them five nights.

Let me tell you, their work is hard! There have been several success stories. There have been some difficult experiences. This country boasts a population of 700,000 people mainly comprised of Montenegrins, Serbs, Muslims and a few other minorities such as Bosnians, for example. There are distinct differences with each group. The Muslims cluster together mainly in three cities. There is only a handful in Niksic.

Eastern Orthodoxy is the main religion for the Montenegrins and Serbs. They use the same Bible that I use. However, there are major differences beyond the fact that we use the same Bible.

People are people and they have needs. Families are struggling just to survive in that this is a very poor country. Apartments are cramped and there is a housing shortage. I learned that when someone builds a new home that he is required by law to build a three-story structure. The government knows that they probably will not house his family on all three levels, instead, he will rent out one or more floors to others thereby increasing housing possibilities.

Drugs are here. There is criminal activity although it is safe to walk on the streets day or night. Teenagers have mobile phones and most of them have music loaded onto their phones. If one is walking alone he is probably listening to one of his songs on his cell phone. They are into text messages ... all the time! Many of these teens have incredible pressures from drugs, from the internet and peer pressure to name a few.

I could say more about what I observed, but, after speaking almost one week there and trying to visit teenagers and families, I can tell you that the work of the church planters is HARD! It is not impossible, but, it is hard. A good work ethic is necessary. Optimism is very important. But, more important that an optimistic outlook is having faith in God. Let me re-phrase this, they have to have a big faith. Persistence is vital. Faith carries them through rejection and persecution.

I really admire church planters. I visited with a third church planter while I was there. He is doing a good work for God. All of these people are working hard. In fact, there is a fledgling new work being started in Kotor. I saw him for a few minutes and I encouraged him. I told him that I will pray for him as he starts the work there. His face lit up! He needs encouragement as he starts. He will face many difficulties. But, he is moving forward. My!

Love these church planters!! I hope that you do too!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Basketball Player in Montenegro: Finally Connected!

It was a safe plane flight from Podgorica, Montenegro back to Budapest, Hungary today. What takes me 16 hours by car was accomplished in one hour and five minutes by flying. I am so thankful that dear friends provided the funds to be able to do this!

Many exciting things happened while I was in Montenegro as you can see by some of my earlier posts. Then again, I had trouble finding some of the campers from Camp Monty 2008. I walked and walked trying to find some of them. I tried to contact via email, but, that did not work. Then, I noticed on Facebook that two of the players were on this program too! I was excited! I invited both of them to add me as their friends on Facebook.

When I returned to Hungary today I checked my email and I noticed that one of them accepted my invitation. We could exchange contact information and I could see what his interests are. Would you believe that he recently joined a group "I am a fan of Jesus Christ". Blew me away!

He made a decision to accept Christ this summer at camp. We had some good talks. When I went to Montenegro last week to make follow-up visits I was wondering about him as to how he is doing. What he had on Facebook encouraged me! It really encouraged me!

So, I could not find him to meet with him, but, we connected today in another way. Isn't this great?


Monday, October 20, 2008

Political Unrest in Montenegro

There is some present political unrest in that Montenegro officially recognized Kosovo just as the United States did so earlier. That did not set well with Serbia [old Yugoslavia]. Not at all! There was a big demonstration in Podgorica the day before I arrived and 30 people were injured.

In fact, the US Embassy issued a warning for Americans to lay low for a few days because the Serbs are still angry with the Americans for recognizing Kosovo. Well, guess what I did Saturday night? I was on the pedestrian street, the "walking street" and I counted 28 policemen. I thought something was up. Sure enough, about 60 or so Serbs were gathered near the government offices. Do you know where I was? Right in the middle of them!

For the period of time that I was there it seemed like a gab fest. Old friends were greeting each other and there was laughter with stories being told. Some young boys were blowing on whistles which seemed quite rude, but, not one paid attention to them. I stood there for a while observing what the people were doing. I do not understand a word of the Serbian language, but, the facial expressions were good. Finally, I thought it might be prudent just to move on just in case someone started yelling about the political issues and someone would realize that I am an American.

That was interesting! Then again, this just might have been my last "protest". No need to go off the deep end!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Balkans

No rental car ... I chose to be on foot while here in Niksic, Montenegro. Things look different when you are walking around rather than driving in a car. The car goes faster and you miss a lot of things. Walking is a slower mode of transportation, but, you see more.

Yesterday I walked from downtown back to the place where I am staying. I took the "long cut". It definitely was not the "shortcut"! There is a smoke stack at the steel factory near the pastor's home and I could see it from a distance to keep my bearings. I walked through a section of town where I have never been before. Along the way I noticed the majestic panorama of the surrounding mountains on all sides. Literally, Niksic is on a large plateau with mountains all around it. You can drive through a tunnel to start your way down to the capital city of Podgorica ... downhill the entire way. From Niksic you can drive to Dubrovnik, Croatia, through Bosnia going over a mountain pass or you can go over two other mountain passes toward Sarajevo, Bosnia or up to Serbia. The weather was gorgeous, so, the view was very nice.

Then, I looked at the ground alongside the road ... covered with trash. Used potato chip bags, beer bottles, cigarettes, candy wrappers and the ever present plastic bags were everywhere. Welcome to the Balkans! Gorgeous landscape, then, you look at what is beside the road ... why?

Next, I noticed many elementary school children were walking home with their backpacks. They were dressed in red [a predominant color here since the Montenegrin flag is a brilliant red color], blue, green, yellow and white. Wait! School on Saturday! Good grief! For some reason they had school on Saturday. I walked beside some of the children and spoke to them. Some know English and returned my greeting. Some were bashful and some were playful. One girl was kicking another girl, then, they just laughed and waved their goodbyes. That was different! Welcome to the Balkans!

Then, it hit me. Although I am personally disappointed with so much debris on the ground I am much more interested in the young people in Montenegro. "Clean up the inside and the outside will take care of itself," I thought.

Keep the focus ... stay the course!

These young people are so special. Gotta go! I am going to the sports complex to talk to some more! Bye!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dateline: Montenegro

I am in Montenegro right now. There is a new Update available if you are interested. Write me at if you would like to receive the latest news that Montenegro Is On Fire! So, I am here visiting with teens who made decisions at Camp Monty 2008. I was in one home yesterday evening visiting with a 14 year old girl and her younger sisters all of which came to camp. Her mother was glad to meet me with the 14 year old, Dragana, translating for me. Then, the father came home from work. They were so hospitable!

On the way back I was walking and bumped into another 14 year old who made a decision at camp. She seemed so happy to see me. Likewise! She had a different glow on her face. What do I mean? She radiated happiness ... she is different ... she changed. This summer she seemed troubled and tentative. Yesterday? What a difference! When I asked her about her new faith in Christ she joyfully told me that she is doing great. She was vibrant! Oh yes, her mother was with her and she had a positive reaction as well. Her mother seemed so glad that her daughter has a friendship with me. Evidently, the daughter saw me before I saw her and she told her mother who I am and about the camp. This kind of positive reaction is very precious. I am thrilled.

Read the Update to find out what happened the previous day with Albanian soccer pros who came to the Montenegron soccer complex. TV interview and much more. Catch it in the Eric Murphy Update October 2008.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Blogged Down

I took Lynne to Germany for her latest MS treatment. It was a helpful treatment. More on that later. It is not a simple matter to keep blogging while traveling. Furthermore, it is expensive to connect to the Internet these days. 3 hours for $12 in Austria! And, that was the bargain rate! If I used my laptop, I could get this "bargain" price. If I used their PC the cost was $1.50 for 10 minutes! Groan!

But, there was a bookstore nearby that offered 20 minutes for $1.50. The problem there was a slow computer.

So, I got blogged down.

I logged onto Facebook to give a quick report as to where we were and what we were doing. The high cost prevented much more than that. I am on Gmail and Hotmail, so, I checked my accounts to answer questions about Camp Monty, work teams for Slovakia, one of our missionaries in the States trying to raise his support, family items from our children or grandchildren, board members, information about upcoming meetings and similar subjects. So, my answers were quick replies.

Still, my costs were moving past $50 for the 10 days that we were away.

Blogged down! But, I am blogging again. Check back for some news items.