Launching Leaders. Transforming Communities. 


AmazonVida is all about launching leaders into the mission of Christ and holistically transforming communities with the Gospel of Christ. It has been our passion for over 60 years to reach every village in the Amazon, the cities of Brasil, and the unreached of the world. Jump in the boat with us and see a personal story for yourself from one of our very own committed leaders. 


We exist to make disciples and develop leaders, launching them to plant churches and restore communities in the Amazon and throughout the world.

Core Values


Missionally Minded

  • We are determined and uncompromising in our commitment to discipleship and church planting.
  • We believe in “seeking first the Kingdom of God” through prayer, faith, loving God, and loving others.

Strategically Focused

  • We believe in holistic transformation of communities in the spiritual, physical, and economic realms using sustainable models.
  • We believe in entirely focusing on launching leaders without apology to biblically reaching the least and the unreached.

Leader Mobilization

  • We are ALL ABOUT discovering, developing, and launching national Brasilians to the Amazon, Greater Brasil, and the world.
  • We believe in reproducible servants that are adept in Bible, business, and leadership skills to maximize Kingdom impact.

Resilient Faith

  • We believe whole-heartedly that God wants to be praised in every nation and that the gates of Hell cannot stop what He has spoken.
  • We believe in taking Spiritual risks for the Kingdom because our God is with us and we “do not account our lives of any value nor as precious to ourselves, if only we may finish our course and the ministry that we received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)



Leadership Training

At the core of AV’s identity is a commitment to empower and launch Brazilian leaders. That is why our Leadership Institute is at the forefront of our mission. Students from Amazonian tribes, villages, and cities come to Parintins to receive theological, vocational, and community development training. These men and women meet regularly to disciple people in numerous villages, lead local churches, and train the villagers to extend God’s Kingdom in their community as well as surrounding communities.

Clean Water

There is water almost everywhere in the Amazon. Sadly, though, the river water contributes to major health problems for the people. It contains dangerous levels of bacteria, parasites, viruses, and pollution. But the wells and filters that we install give Amazonian people the clean water that they desperately need.

Medical and Dental

The vast majority of people that we serve lack access to basic medical or dental care. But the toll of living an agrarian lifestyle as well as the natural danger present in the Amazon is enormous.  The local government is responsible for providing medical care but their lack of resources as well as corruption in the system leave thousands without the care that they need. That's why we mobilize Brazilian and American doctors and dentist to places deep within the jungle to provide much needed medical attention.

Short Term Mission Teams

We receive about 10-12 teams per year that are sent from our partners in Brasil and the US. They range in size from 10 people to 55. The teams provide a variety of things like medical/dental work, clean water solutions, community education, evangelism and teaching, and VBS. Check out our Short Term Trips page to learn more about our short term trip philosophy, see available trip dates, and apply to join a team.


Elmer Lessa, Pastor, Director

Elmer is a Member of AV's Board of Directors and provides leadership for our sister organization in Brasil, Missão Batista do Baixo Amazonas. Elmer has pastored the Primeira Igreja Batista de Parintins (First Baptist Church of Parintins) since 1998. He lives in Parintins, Amazonas with his wife, Elisângela, and their two boys, David and Daniel. Elmer's parents founded the ministry in 1952 and he continues to lead the mission movement both in and from the Amazon River region to this day.

Felix Albuquerque Junior, Communications Manager | Brasil

Junior serves as an employee of our sister organization, Missão Batista do Baixo Amazonas. He, his wife Viviane, and their son Davi live in the large city of São Paulo. He serves the ministry by attending to administrative needs as well as church partnership development with numerous Brasilian churches in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.


Michael Shell, Executive Director | U.S.A.

Michael and his wife, Leah, have had a passion for the extension of God’s kingdom in Brasil since high school. Michael graduated with a degree in International Ministry at Moody Bible Institute in 2013. Leah is on the path towards becoming a missionary physician and is currently in her third year of medical school in Fort Worth. They both are prayerfully preparing to live in Brasil and partner with Christians there to spread the whole gospel to the ends of the earth.


Jarrod has been working in media for 15 years. His skills include videography, photography, 3D animation, and graphic design. After his first trip in 2013, he felt called to do what he can to help in the Amazon. He began praying about how he could integrate his skills in multimedia with his passion for missions in the Amazon. His role with AmazonVida is the culmination of that process. Based from the United States, Jarrod travels often to the Amazon Region to capture photo's and videos that allow us to tell the story of what God is doing in the Amazon.

Our Doctrinal Statement

God: There is one God (Deut. 6:4) who exists eternally (Psalm 90:2). God is comprised of three distinct Persons (Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit) in one unified Being (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19).

Jesus: As the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus is one Person comprised of two natures: human and divine (John 1:1-14; Hebrews 1:7-8). Not considering “equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage,” (Philippians 2:6), Jesus was born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-38), lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21), preformed numerous miracles as a sign of His deity and God’s coming kingdom (John 10:31-38), died on the cross as substitutionary atonement for man’s sins (Matt. 26:28; 1 Peter 2:24), bodily resurrected from the dead on the third day (John 20:1-31; 1 Cor. 15:1-8), ascended to the right hand of the father (Acts 1:4-11), and rules as the Head of the Church (Col. 1:18). Christ will one day return to establish God’s eternal kingdom in full (Rev. 19:11-16; 22:7-21).

Salvation: All humans are tainted by sin (Rom. 3:23) and will, barring saving faith in Jesus, be sent to everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:41-46). However, salvation is a free gift offered to all who place their trust in Jesus as their savior (John 3:16-21). By faith, through grace, all men have the opportunity to be restored to right relationship with God, man, and creation. A result of salvation is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13; John 14:16). Though good works never merit salvation in any way (Ephesians 2:8-9), a true believer will consistently grow towards Christlikeness (Galatians 5:22-26).

Bible: The Bible is God’s Holy Word, communicating His truth without error (2 Tim. 3:16; Psalms 147:5; Num. 23:19; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Though God provides other sources for discovery of truth (reason, nature (Psalm 19), conscience (Romans 2:14), tradition, and history), God’s Word rightly translated and interpreted ought to be the final and most authoritative source of truth in the Christian’s life.

The Church: The Church is the community of all redeemed people (1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Tim. 2:19). Among the Church’s numerous roles and responsibilities is that we be Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) ushering in God’s kingdom on earth by further restoring all things to His original design (Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 6:10).