Fourty years ago, on April 25th, 1974, a group of very determined soldiers decided they had had enough. They were tired of seeing their young men being sent to die in Africa in a war that did not make sense anymore. They were tired of the fascist government that had ruled over Portugal for 48 years, that had taken away all freedom of thought and had created a system where half of the country was spying on the other half. They were tired of seeing their children die at birth because of the lack of minimum health care.
Fourty years ago, on April 25th, 1974, a whole country decided they had had enough. When the people saw that the military were out, they joined them, screaming as loud as they could “Liberdade! Liberdade! Liberdade!” (Freedom!) Somebody had the idea to start handing out carnations to the military. Because of it this event is called “The Carnation Revolution”.
Very few guns were fired. To my knowledge, only four people died that day. The dictator was put in an armored vehicle and sent on a no-return exile trip to Brazil. The freedoms that my generation has enjoyed in Portugal exist because of that day. Since that day in 1974, there has been political freedom and democratic elections.
I remember the stories my dad used to tell me about how it was to live during the fascist dictatorship. Food was scarce, shoes were a Sunday luxury and you could not talk about everything you wanted, whenever you wanted. You see, you never knew who could be listening. The Gospel was preached during the dictatorship, but there was open religious persecution. Sometimes the authorities would ignore it, other times they would encourage it.
A new constitution was drafted and freedom of religion was given to all. Because of that day, I can tell others about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not be afraid to be put in jail. In Portugal, I can carry a Bible openly, conduct Bible studies, and organize churches. I have personally baptized dozens of people in the Ocean, in a very public fashion.
Recent news of persecution in China should teach us that we should never take freedom for granted. We don’t know how long freedom will last in Portugal, but we should plan to make good use of it. I believe we are accountable to the Lord for what we do with the tools we are provided.
Pray that by July 1st we have all the support raised so that we can make use of the religious freedom that exists in Portugal, to let the Portuguese know about true eternal freedom in Christ. Will you consider being a part of this movement?
I’m thinking about making this day a special day of prayer. I’m thinking we could ask people, from all over the world to start thinking and praying about Portugal on April 25th. Since 1974, this day is a national holiday in Portugal. It is known simply as “Freedom Day”. Pray that more are more Portuguese will get to have their very own “Freedom Day”.