From an early age, Cork native Kieran Fitzgibbon felt God calling him to Russia. “I was 11 when He said ‘Go to Russia,’ and I said ‘Okay,’” he says Kieran never doubted or fought against it, rather saw how that calling was a “constant feature through my life.” He studied Russian and theology in college, even visiting course mates during their year abroad in Moscow.

“I saw a guy installing network cables in the building where my friends were staying,” he remembers. “When I saw him, I had this thought of God telling me, ‘This is how you’re going to get into Russia…through Information Technology (I.T.) work.’ I wanted to live there, be among people, and live my life out for God [with a normal job].”

As newlyweds in 2009, Kieran and Ciara visited OM’s ship, the Logos Hope, in Cork where they surprisingly met a couple of Russian workers on board. The friends they made during that trip would set the stage for their official introduction into Russia later.

While managing the I.T. department at his factory job for a year, Kieran received specialised training that would qualify him for the next door God would open. Remembering God’s guiding towards I.T. work, Kieran and Ciara saw an ad posted on Facebook by their Russian friend from the Logos Hope. OM Russia was looking for an I.T. manager.

“We prayed about it,” Kieran shared, “and really felt God leading us to do this. We put aside our preferences [a steady-paying job as opposed to living on missionary support] and went for it. So, we ended up in Russia.”

To Russia and back

Ciara shared that “one of the biggest culture shocks was how people related to one another in public, and how long it takes to connect. Mums at the playground didn’t talk to each other. The locals were very suspicious of foreigners. We were told that it would take two to three years to form a friendship with a Russian, which was pretty accurate.”

Kieran and Ciara originally agreed to serve for one year, yet they felt God leading their family to stay for a total of five years. As their fifth and final year in Russia approached, they began preparing to return to Ireland. The first step was praying about where in Ireland they’d return. Ciara remembers that “the Lord told me ‘I’m throwing you a curveball, and it’s not going to be what you think it is.’”

“I asked the Lord to send someone to us, instead of us specifically looking for something,” Ciara shared. “The very next day someone contacted us, directing us toward Tramore, County Waterford. There were many confirmations after that, leading us to move there. Each step required God to open the door for us.”

Coming back to Ireland was not only a transition but reverse culture shock. “From 11-30 years old, I had this dream [of living in Russia],” Kieran said. “Then I lived the dream, which was a great privilege. We came back to Cork with this vision that God would bring us to Tramore, just not knowing how.”

“While we were in Russia,” Ciara said, “God had given us this vision of community, of living and getting to know our neighbours and seeing His kingdom come.”

“When we first got back, we were jobless, homeless and not in Russia,” Kieran shared. “Through a series of unbelievable ‘coincidences,’ we found schools for our three kids, a house to rent and then a job.”

“God can have an impact in any place,” Ciara said. “He is so kind and takes care of the smallest detail.”

For Kieran, “Our lives together, what we want to teach our kids, is about asking God. Whether that’s serving in Russia, developing a career in this or that, or sweeping a road somewhere for work. All He wants is our obedience. It’s a struggle not to get so comfortable that I stop relying on God.”

Ciara recognised that “being in Russia was training. God taught me all that I thought I knew, but didn’t. It was also a reminder to be ourselves. When people put missionaries on a pedestal, they opt themselves out. For every single person, He wants to see His kingdom come.”

The future isn’t exactly clear for the Fitzgibbon family, now a party of six. Kieran described it as, “We have no idea what’s going to happen, but we’re looking at it as an adventure. Going to Russia and coming back has all been part of our walk with God.”

“It’s exciting because we don’t know lots of things,” Ciara agreed. “Our kids are learning to relate to Irish people, to be themselves and to communicate who they are to people who have never heard of Jesus. People ask, ‘will you go back to Russia?’ I don’t know. It’s very likely, but under what circumstance we don’t know. I don’t feel done with Russia.”

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Finance Manager Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleUse your financial management skills toward the purpose of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached. This important role is vital to ministry on the field. You would provide accountability for the cash transactions conducted on the field and perform duties to assist with accounting functions pertaining to bank accounts, budgets, journal entries, financial reporting and administrative changes, guided by precedent and guidelines of established policies.
Full Details
Internships in Ireland Ireland    Go & Live    AnytimeAre you looking for an opportunity to explore your gifting and passions? Or are you a student who wants to practice their vocation in a cross-cultural setting? OM is mobilising young Jesus followers to join our international team and serve and experience ministry in Ireland. We are open to have interns come from 2 weeks to 6 months, or even up to a year! Dates are flexible, although there might be more opportunities to help in other ministries during the spring/summer.
Full Details
Bus Driver/Evangelism – Big Red Bus Team Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe Big Red Bus is an amazing ministry tool that is very well known among the Irish community, and YOU could become it's driver! You will be responsible to take the bus and it's team members to different places, and will be involved in it's practical ministries: kids clubs, street evangelism, youth meetings and coffee/tea bars. You'll also be responsible for the general maintenance of the bus and the safety of it's passengers.
Full Details
Finance Assistant Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAs a finance assistant serving on the mission field, you will provide much-needed support to the finance manager on the OM team, and you will fulfil a vital ministry role toward the purpose of seeing more vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. We are looking for knowledgeable, detail-oriented individuals who will handle the paperwork associated with OM's business and ministry transactions, including petty cash, data entry, bills, accounts, banking and record keeping.
Full Details
Communications and Marketing Worker Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleShare the story of what God is doing in Ireland and the world and effectively implement our strategies to do this well within our context. Use your own creative skills, and build relationships with others, as you help to create a clear and inspiring online and offline presence. Use your gifts and talents to inspire and encourage people to become involved in God's work!
Full Details
Vehicle Fleet Coordinator/Mechanic Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWill you be the Vehicle Fleet Coordinator/Mechanic to look after our fleet of 20 plus vehicles? You will be responsible for the regular maintenance of the fleet as well as any associated paper work (such as insurances, and scheduling repairs). If you have mechanic experience, have practical and organizational skills, and pleasant and effective people skills, we would love for you to be part of our team.
All OM staff secure their own funding by private donations.

Full Details
Partnership Director Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you great at building relationships and linking the right people to each other? Do you have vision to see Christians work together to build God's kingdom? Come and help us build partnerships with churches, organisations and trusts, so together we can work on seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers here in Ireland!
Full Details
Children, Youth and Evangelism team members Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. Do you have a heart for (young) people and a desire for them to hear of His fame and renown? Come and be involved in many different activities including kids clubs, Big Red Bus ministry, creative evangelism and much more!
Full Details
Children, Youth and Evangelism team leader Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. Do you have a heart for (young) people and a desire for them to hear of His fame and renown? Come and be involved in leading many different activities including kids clubs, Big Red Bus ministry, creative evangelism and much more!
Full Details
St. Patrick’s Vision (online opportunity) Ireland    Go & Visit    14 March 2021 - 19 March 2021Every year we want to use the context of St. Patrick's Day to remind the people in Ireland of the message that St. Patrick brought to the country long ago and its relevance today. Join this opportunity to engage with missions in Ireland despite the physical restrictions; to experience some of the Irish culture, learn about St. Patrick and meet some of the team. We will share about what God is doing in Ireland, the ministries and partnerships OM is involved in and how you can come alongside!
Full Details
Hospitality Coordinator(s) Ireland    Go & Live    June 2021Do you have a heart to make others feel welcome and at home? Do you enjoy meeting new people? We are looking for someone, or a couple, that are handy, love to roll up their sleeves and who want to serve God and others in a practical way. Come and take care of our OM base at Lacken House, Co. Roscommon, and oversee all guest services.
Full Details