A History of Faith, Hope, and Love


In 1952, through the ministry that has evolved into AmazonVida, God started a work in the Amazonian village of Parintins, Brasil that would eventually touch the world. The father of Elmer Lessa resided in Southern Brasil, but had a burning heart for the nations to know and worship God. It was with this passion that he prayed, “Lord, give me the hardest place in the world that needs you most and send me there.” Of course, the Lord answered his prayer and sent him to Parintins, Brasil – which was one of the nations most persecuted villages. Parintins was known for its deep spiritual roots as well as an area where the power of Satan worked heavily. It was no wonder then, when the people of the village tried to murder him many times by poisoning his groceries, attempting to stone him on various occasions, and even trying to set his hut on fire; all with the desire to snuff out the work of the Gospel. Through it all, he remained resilient in faith and overcame these barriers because the mission to reach this village and reach the world was more important than his very life. It was then, in 1952, when Pastor Elmer’s father, along with 8 other believers, founded the first church in Parintins that has grown and is still flourishing to this day — 63 years later! They began to not only reach Parintins, but because of their missional hearts, also began to strategically reach their neighboring villages as well.

After living a faithful and fruitful life, Pastor Elmer’s father passed away, leaving the church and ministry in Elmer's own hands. Like his father, it had become the dearest desire of his heart to see the vision completed no matter what spiritual obstacles would stand in the way. Whether persecution, oppression, financial struggles, or any other hindrance, he was determined by the power of Jesus to see leaders launched forth to make multiplying disciples, plant reproducible churches, holistically restore communities, and reach the unreached in all the world!

This is being done today through our Leadership Institute, medical and dental ministries, clean water initiatives, and short term mission teams. 

Pastor Elmer has said himself; “Parintins is not just a mission field, but a missional launch pad to mobilize leaders to the unreached in all the world.”

Launching leaders since 1952


The Amazon River is virtually unrivaled in beauty, size, biodiversity, and adventure! If stretched out, the river could reach from New York City to Rome. President Theodore Roosevelt led one of the most famous Amazon adventures in 1913 and told of its magnificent splendor, its mystery, and even its danger. This vast land full of wonder is known as one of man’s final frontiers – not only physically, but also spiritually. In many ways it is the gateway to reaching the world and obeying the Great Commission. Currently, over 40,000 communities are known to exist in the region, many of which have been living in complete spiritual darkness for thousands of years! Although the darkness is indeed great, a greater hope exists for these people through the restorative work of Jesus Christ! 

Leaders, Churches, & Villages