Country Stats

  • Population: 10.7 million

  • Area: 92,389 sq km

  • Capital: Lisbon

  • Language: Portuguese

  • Currency: Euro

  • Unemployment rate: 17.6%

  • Religion: 97% Roman Catholic   3% Evangelicals (Source: Operation World)

Transform Europe Now have historically supported partners based in Portugal. Today, only one of these mission links remain and we send funds to a children’s home according to any designated giving we receive.

Our Partners in Portugal

  • Christina Pimentel
    The Lar Children’s Home

Prayer Requests

  • The seven northern and northeastern provinces,which are strongly traditional Catholic; relatively few evangelical churches exist. Brethren, Baptists, AoG,GEM, TEAM, ECM, Missão Antioquia and several other missions all have church-planting programmes in the area.

  • The four provinces in the south that are poorer and much less religious. Attendance at mass is very low, and evangelical churches are few.

  • The 316 counties, 44 of which still have no evangelical congregation. This is praiseworthy progress from the 69 in 2000 that lacked a church. The Evangelical Alliance set a target to plant a church in every county by 2015 through its member churches and organizations. Pray for this goal to be met and surpassed.

  • Madeira Island (270,000), which has fewer than 20 small evangelical churches, and the Azores (250,000), with a further 26, most being Assemblies of God and Baptist.

  • Ethnic minorities. Large numbers of immigrants continue to flow into Portugal. The earlier waves of Portuguese-speaking West Africans and Brazilians are joined by Chinese, Macanese and Eastern Europeans – especially Ukrainians, who now comprise Portugal’s second-largest community. Many of these are unevangelized but open to the gospel; pray for the churches (both Portuguese and foreign) to gain a vision to reach them.

  • Drug abuse is a growing problem – over 50% of young people have experimented with drugs. Teen Challenge, Betel-Spain as well as TEAM and ECM have ministries rehabilitating and discipling addicts.

  • Student work is still in a pioneer stage. GBUP(IFES) has a ministry in eight universities and some high schools. CCCI (Agape) and Navigators also have ministries on several campuses.

  • SU and CEF have ministries among school children.

  • Sports are a useful form of outreach. Agape (Athletes in Action) and YWAM (Athletes for Christ) both minister in this way.

The Need

Renowned for its beautiful, hot countryside and its delicious olives, wheat, wine and cork, Portugal is a wonderful place to holiday but it’s not without its fair share of victorious and somewhat tragic history.

Portugal hit the jackpot in 14th Century by storing, selling and importing spices from Asia which were notoriously expensive in Europe. Dominating the spice trade, Portugal steadily took over certain countries including Goa, Malacca and Macao, not forgetting the colonisation of Brazil. However, as the spice economy grew, Portugal was unable to sustain its superiority of the trade and slowly but surely got pushed out and dominated by larger and more powerful countries. Unfortunately, Portugal never recovered from that loss and remained indebted and influenced by neighbouring countries, especially Spain.

1911 saw a military coup depose of the monarchy with the assassination of King Manuel I and his son. The following decades were met by repressive governments running a poverty hit country. When Antonio Salazar stepped to the plate he began running Portugal with an iron fist which only negatively developed Portugal into its third world state. Many poor Portuguese had high hopes for the revolution but afterwards they saw no improvement in their living standards. In 1926 the army took power placing Salazar as Prime Minister. Under his dictatorship a secret police force, the PIDE (Policia Internacional e de Defensa do Estado) was formed, the press was censored and political parties were banned. However, on a more positive note Salazar did spend money on public works i.e. roads, bridges and public buildings which steadily grew the industry but did not decrease the country’s poverty line. Salazar resigned in 1968 due to ill health.

A revolution took place in 1974 which was staged by the army and invited people to wear red and white carnations to show their support. The revolution resulted in Portugal becoming a democracy. A further positive move was made in 1986 when Portugal decided to join the EU. It soon reiterated history however, by making a poor decision to join the Euro.

Today Portugal’s tourism is an important industry. Like the rest of Europe, Portugal suffered in the recession of 2009 but has eventually recovered.