To Russia with much love — Marian Fitz-Gibbon

My training as a prophetic intercessor was not done in the classroom, nor in the comfort of a church but in the photographic studios of Republican Press as a rookie journalist who was racked with so much fear of the Russians coming to get us that the only solution to save South Africa was to build a wall that was so impenetrable that not even a missile could penetrate it.

At that time our boys on the border became the human wall. I saw the photos, I was horrified. I was one of the fortunate ones that could run into the arms of the Lord. Solace came in His presence but the fear of the USSR still loomed.

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I left the publishing world for teaching – something I thought would be safer and more in line with my upbringing. As a young mother and with slightly more time on my hands, the Holy Spirit tugged at my heart and soon the visions of folk behind the dreaded Iron Curtain emerged.

The only way I could gain full peace was to intercede and prophecy into the Ezekiel valley. But they weren’t actual bones but lifeless people, trapped and silenced by laws and ideologies, living under a dictatorship — something terrifying for a writer and a child of God.

I prophesied life into the dry, lifeless situations. I prayed urgently that the people would know that their voices would be heard, that they would know they are loved by the Lord, have encounters with Jesus. I prophesied that the people would supernaturally get wind of meeting places and get supernatural courage in the face of persecution to gather and meet. My intercession encounters with the Lord continued for years until the day my husband informed me that the Berlin wall had come down.

I was thrilled but confused, after all, I had found a part of myself in tearing down the wall and the walls in peoples lives.

Noel, left, and Marian Fitz-Gibbon, second from left, with tour group friends in Russia.

Trip to Russia
This year we received a prophetic word about going to the Eastern Bloc. At first I wondered what we would be doing there — after all, the wall was down and there was supposed to be freedom of religion.

However, we responded with a “yes Lord” and made the necessary preparations. Research, prayer and getting confirmation. The Lord surprised us with an extraordinary meeting with a pastor who was taking a team to Russia. We qualified!!

Overview of our trip
The people of Kalmykia and Samara are warm and hospitable and so hungry for Jesus. One senior lady told us that she felt they were the forgotten generation. Over a simple meal I shared part of my story. Soon the tears flowed, the dam wall broke and the Holy Spirit touched her like no one else could.

On three occasions we had the privilege of singing the South African national anthem. We shared with our audiences that we were not singers but lovers of South Africa and that the anthem is a prayer. At the one event, A national prayer day for Russia, we were met with a standing ovation. We walked away with more tears running down our cheeks than those listening.

The team we worked with had favour in schools, universities, hospitals, churches and we worked tirelessly and seamlessly in prayer, prophetic ministry, sharing testimonies, praying for the sick and downcast. When we had a translator it was marvellous but sign language and body language sufficed where necessary. When the Holy Spirit moves and does what He wants, language is not a barrier.

God used every tool in our toolbox to get through to the people. Objects to jog a memory, the meaning of your name – which led to prophetic ministry, songs to reach the young, what do want to be when you leave college – straight into an opportunity to pray, and the simple identify the part of your body that’s sore and show us out of 10 how bad it is? Jesus did it all.

On an overnight train ride, I got sight of a dear old lady. I smiled at her at first. Apparently, you’re not supposed to do this!! Smiling may send a wrong signal. I went to our leaders and asked them to coach me in Russian on how to say, “God Bless You”. I waited like a mischievous child outside her cabin, the Babushka came out and I shared “God Bless you” in Russian. Tears filled her eyes, she hugged me and went back into her cabin. Out came her strapping daughter. For a moment I thought I was in a spot of trouble. They engaged in a few words and then I said it again. “God Bless you.” Hugs and love flowed. I don’t really know what happened on the train in those few minutes to Samara, but hey I was changed!

Introduction to the Mongolian people group

Prayer warriors
We had the privilege of praying for a team of intercessors. They met in an obscure location, behind steel doors. They don’t have the freedom of praying as loud as we do – if the neighbours report them to the authorities, they will be shut down. The presence of the Lord was so evident when we prayed together. They use simple instruments. This group prays 24 hours around the clock 360 days a year!

These prayer warriors connect with the culture and local expressions to ensure that the Lord has His way. They invited us to attend the National Prayer Day for Russia, which also included an art exhibition and music festival. It was here where we stood to sing the national anthem with such pride and joy.

I always love to see what the artistic expressions of the day have to say. My heart was overjoyed when I saw the work of 4- & 5-year olds on display. Colourful and happy, were my thoughts.

Moscow AND St Petersburg
In Moscow and St Petersburg there are only subtle signs of embracing western culture. This was only seen in the shops and was not obvious to the onlooker. The streets are kept in pristine condition without paper or dirt evident. A custom of the Russians is to leave their shoes at the door and put on house slippers. Billboards and advertising were limited and this I must say was a welcome relief. One takes on a new appreciation of the architecture and the craftsmanship used to construct the buildings.

Signs of guarding against extremism were certainly in place with upgraded security.

I feel extremely privileged to have encountered the beautiful heart of Mother Russia.

Religious freedom
In chatting to various folk in the religious and educational sectors, it is apparent that there are laws against extremism and any foreign funding of such organisations. Street- or any form of evangelism or the importation of foreign or religious literature is forbidden. Any educational or religious materials must be approved by the government.

The government gives priority to the Russian Orthodox Church. The purpose of the “Religious Curtain” is primarily to keep people within the state’s preferred religious system and to protect Russians against terrorist organisations.

Whats your story?
In writing this short article I realised how the Lord takes the weak things in our lives and turns them into the most beautiful story for His Glory.

I have beautiful pictures etched deep and meaningfully of Russia and of President Putin and I have no doubt you too the reader, if you dig deep ,will have life-changing stories to share.

God bless you Russia

One Comment

  1. Morning Marian
    What a “warm fuzzy” my heart experienced, reading your article. The love of the nation and her peoples now finding a home in my heart. I saw the team as ‘Seed Sowers” taking handfuls of seed from their baskets and throwing them onto hard packed earth. As they did the gentle but strong whirlwind inhaled the precious cargo and began the work of depositing them far and wide.