In addition to increasing freedom in Portugal, the Carnation Revolution of 1974 led to the rapid return of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens living in Angola, Mozambique, and other colonies who were forced from their homes due to the resulting political unrest. More than half of the early converts to the Church in Portugal were among those displaced.
Arnaldo and Eugénia Teles Grilo arrived in Portugal in October 1975, bringing only what they could carry. They were given a hotel room to stay in while they looked for work but decided to send their children to live with relatives in another part of the country until they got settled. Living as a separated family was difficult. “I cried every day,” Eugénia said. After a year, they were able secure an apartment and reunite their family. Eugénia remembered praying very hard to the Lord during this time. “I wanted to understand my new life and dedicate my life to serving him,” she said. Within days of Eugénia’s prayer, the family was introduced to the gospel message by missionaries. “The missionaries explained each part of the plan of salvation, especially that we could be together for eternity as a family,” Eugénia recalled. “It brought incredible happiness to us.” They were baptized in November 1977, joining other early converts in taking on leadership responsibilities to help the Church get established. “In everything I have done for the Church,” said Eugénia, “I find I have been fulfilling that which I had prayed for when I was in so much pain.”
In February 1981, Arnaldo and Eugénia traveled for more than two days by bus to the Bern Switzerland Temple to be sealed. Though it felt like a sacrifice at first to go, their feelings soon changed. “At the end of the journey, when we see the temple,” Arnaldo recalled, “what’s the sacrifice?” Two years later, they returned, this time with their children, to be sealed together for eternity.
For decades Portuguese Saints continued to make great sacrifices to attend the temple. In October 2010, Church President Thomas S. Monson announced that a temple would be built in Lisbon. Elder Joaquim J. Moreira, an Area Seventy, commented, “This is a blessing that our members have been waiting for a long time.”