Good Things: February

While we’re traveling, an average day in the life of the Murphmans is surprisingly normal. We have a schedule of commitments and activities, including the same regular tasks you have like grocery shopping and exercising. But since we have the privilege of living our normal life against an ever changing backdrop of places, we try our best to get out of our comfort zones and experience new things too. And this month has not disappointed.


We’ve met loads of new people through our volunteer commitment (a local tree nursery) and our church. It is so good to be in community again. Having a routine where we see the same people week after week– and even getting to visit some of their houses– helps us feel like we’re truly at home. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve learned to adapt to new places, but it’s only increased the hunger in our souls to be rooted again. We talk often about when the time will be right for our departure from nomadic living.

I realized how much we’ve changed and grown since we’ve started traveling. On Valentine’s Day, our church had a speed dating event after service (we have a strange very cool church) and they had a small pile of delicious looking cookies prepared for the participants. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the intended purpose of those treats, and I ask Tyler to snag a couple for me before the service even began. When it dawned on me ten minutes in that I was chomping on speeding dating cookies, I had one second of horror, and then I shrugged, looked at Tyler, and took another bite as I quipped “oh well!” Two years ago, I would have been mortified. Last year, I would have been sufficiently embarrassed. (I know, because it happened with a Snickers bar on Father’s Day… What is wrong with me?! I blame Tyler.) Now, I feel detached enough from others’ opinion of me that I can have a “let them think what they will” attitude. The cookies are a bit of a silly example, but it’s been interesting to see how travel has affected our confidence and self-security.

I attended a viewing party of a women’s conference the other weekend. It was so refreshing to be in a community of women and have the opportunity to sit under the teaching of really engaging leaders. When I first heard that a group from the church was getting together to watch a live feed of the conference in the UK, my ears perked up and I was interested in learning more. As soon as the girl on stage said there would be pool time, nail painting, and sweets… I was done for. All my favorite things!! I leaned over to Tyler and and said in my best mock serious voice “She must have gotten a word from the Lord. I’m meant to go to this conference!” And it was a truly divine Saturday evening(;

We feel really disconnected from American politics right now. We’ve been watching from a distance for about six months now, and it just keeps getting stranger. We’ve been reassuring baffled people literally the world over that America would never actually vote for Donald Trump. Well…. turns out we were wrong. The other day I was reading the comments section on a Facebook thread (I know, I know, I torture myself!) and after a few minutes I realized my mouth had gone dry from just hanging open, dumbfounded by what I was reading. However, as confusing as it is to be experiencing an election year from afar, it has been really a fascinating viewpoint. And as the days and weeks pass, I have begun to feel a measure of peace. No American president is going to be the end of the world. Is it important? Yes. Should we take our civic participation seriously? Yes. But in many countries with vastly different political scenes, we’ve found that life goes on and people persevere, and even thrive. I am particularly feeling convicted to seek first the kingdom of God and trust that even things out of my control are in the hands of God.

On a lighter note, we went to the movies the other day. If you follow me on snapchat (leendamurph), you have already seen our glorious cinema experience. It was total pampering: we were in a nearly empty cinema, sat in a couples’ couch that reclined with a footrest, were snuggled under individual duvets, and we were served an appetizer and an entree during the movie. All for $13 a person!  It was such a fun treat. And while we were hanging out at the mall waiting for our movie time to come up, we wandered around the corner to the arcade. When we walked in, Tyler actually giggled in glee. It was pure joy. We were the only people in there that weren’t Asian and thirteen… but it was so fun! And you bet Tyler played a racing game and won. I’m pretty sure we’ll be returning at some point to commandeer more race cars.

February was a good month for us. Kuala Lumpur has been a good place for us. It’s not hard this month to practice the spirit of gratitude. So thankful for all the good things we’ve been experiencing!

Any highlights from your last month? Anything you’re looking forward to in March?

February 13, 2016
  • For March, I’m looking forward to finishing my time at seminary for now and making major progress with my visa application. Re: politics, I like what you said about life going on and continuing to trust God. There will be empires, bad rulers, really REALLY bad rulers, and the oppressive systems. But you’re right. We’re living in the tension of the “now and not yet” kingdom. While we wait, we continue to walk in hope and pray that his kingdom come and his will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

    Which church are you guys attending in KL? 🙂

    • Wow, you have so much on your plate for March! A big month!! And a big YES to everything you said about politics. Well said! And the church we attend here is called HopeCityKL. It’s a church plant from HopeCity in the UK… the 12th of 13 total churches. We weren’t familiar with it before being here, but we’re loving the community of people.

  • I love this post! Especially the section about caring/worrying less about what people think of you – don’t we all need to work on that a bit? I love the reminder.

    And AMERICAN POLITICS, OH MY GOSH! I am from NH, which is the location of the first primaries as I’m sure you know, and it has been WILD around here. I’m so scared about the future! But I am glad to read your words of peace – I am praying to feel more of that soon!

    • Thanks so much for the encouraging comment! Yes, it’s crazy to think back at the things that used to be huge deals for me and now aren’t so serious… I wonder what I’ll think of my current attitude when I look back three years from now 😉 And politics… we could talk forever! Hope you do feel that sense of peace soon!

  • I appreciate your perspective on the current political scene. It’s a bit much but I often think that really at the end of the day any President isn’t my savor. I value my freedom as an American to vote but I can’t become frightened over it.

    I’m so glad you’ve been able to plug into a church in KL! It sounds like you’ve found a nice home away from home.

    • Thanks Catherine! I totally agree with that. The President holds a lot of power, but at the end of the day, that’s not the power we put our hope in.
      Also, KL– loving it!! We can’t get enough of this city. I think our church has been a huge part of that.

  • Yes!! I can’t wait to do a movie experience in KL! I had heard that it’s really cheap and fancy, but I didn’t imagine that there would even be food served!

    And ugh… American politics.. It’s so bad but I feel so detached from America that I can’t even bring myself to care. I know that travel has changed me a lot, and this is just one of those ways.

    Btw, I just arrived in KL yesterday! I’ll privately message you in a bit!