Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
The nation of Portugal is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Despite its relatively small size, about the size of the US state of Maine, Portugal was a world power from the 15th to early 19th century. Over 250 million people speak the Portuguese language. Most Portuguese speakers now live in Brazil. The independence of Brazil 1825 led to the decline in power and status of Portugal. Portugal's two main African colonies, Mozambique and Angola, became independent in 1975 after years of war.
In the 18th century, Portuguese people settled in Brazil in droves. So many of the Portuguese went there that the Portuguese royalty had to set barriers. They were attracted by a gold rush, diamond mines, and an emerging agricultural. Brazil gained her independence from Portugal in 1822, but the Portuguese kept coming. This process continued for decades, with only a slowdown in the 1930s. Starting in the 1980s, Portugal's economy was growing, so fewer people migrated to Brazil from then on. The exception was during Portugal's 2010-11 economic crisis.
What are their lives like?
Because of the historic relationship between Brazil and Portugal, the Portuguese have rights in Brazil that other ethnic groups lack. It's far easier for them to obtain citizenship in Brazil than it would be for others.
From colonial days to the present, the Portuguese have contributed to Brazil in many ways. There have been Portuguese artists, musicians, athletes, politicians, and businessmen.
What are their beliefs?
The large majority of Portuguese identify are members of the Roman Catholic Church. The small percent of Evangelicals is slowly increasing, and the gospel is moving among the Portuguese all over the world. The majority, however, are baptized, married and buried in the Catholic Church. Their faith is not an active part of their lives with only a small percentage attending mass on a weekly basis. They are becoming more secular.
Evangelicals and Roman Catholics have much in common including beliefs in the deity of Christ, the Trinity and the inspiration of the Bible. Evangelicals disagree with Catholics with regard to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the practice of praying to Mary and the saints. There is also a disagreement regarding the role of works in salvation. Evangelicals say that salvation is by faith in Christ alone while many Catholics believe that works are necessary for salvation.
What are their needs?
The Portuguese must see that their nominal, traditional religion will not result in the forgiveness of their sins or a meaningful, fulfilled life. Biblical Christianity is a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ, not merely a tradition or system of laws and morals.
Ask the Lord to send Spirit-filled missionaries and Bible teachers to the Portuguese in Brazil.
Pray for a Christ-centered revival in the Roman Catholic Church that will result in Portuguese Christ followers discipling others.
Pray many Portuguese priests and bishops come to know a personal, love relationship with Christ and teach it during mass.
Pray the Portuguese will listen to radio and TV programs which teach the way to know Christ in a living, biblical way.
ReferencesView Portuguese in all countries.