On the far west coast of continental Europe lies Portugal – a small nation with a rich historical and cultural heritage. Famous for its port wine, its stunningly beautiful architecture and sun-drenched beaches, tourists flock to this country every year. Yet, just 30 years ago Portugal was ruled by an oppressive right-wing dictatorship, which sought to close the country to foreign influence.
Today, its 11 million inhabitants are shaking off this legacy but the result is an increasingly materialistic and secular society.
The majority of the population is still linked with traditional Catholicism, with a strong emphasis on the veneration of the Virgin Mary (the Queen of Portugal). The evangelical church remains extremely small (just 1.6 % of the population) but it is starting to grow and to become known and accepted in Portuguese society.
OM Portugal was launched in 1988 with a focus on short-term summer outreach teams, church-planting, children’s ministry and literature. Dozens of churches received outreach teams each summer, until the tragic death of OM Portugal leader Serafim Batista in 2003 brought about changes in the ministry.
TeenStreet has played a vital role in OM’s ministry in Portugal. Hundreds of Portuguese teens have attended the conference in Germany and a dedicated group of volunteer helpers has been established.
A new leadership team was formed in June 2010 and seeks to continue to mobilise Portuguese teens and the Church for world missions through Teenstreet and “Transform” teams in the Algarve.