About Us

We have a long history that began in 1952 through the ministry of Pastor Eduardo Lessa that has evolved into AmazonVida under the leadership of his son Pastor Elmer Lessa. The vision was to start a work in the Amazon village of Parintins that would touch other areas of the jungle and eventually the world.

Pastor Eduardo’s vision was to build a strong church in Parintins that would reach out to the community and eventually the surrounding villages with the gospel. Thirty years later, despite the hardship and persecution that he encountered, that church is still growing and we have seen second and third generation churches planted in the surrounding villages.

Our healthy small groups and focused seminary training are being used to multiply disciples and creating a lasting impact long after your mission team goes back home. Now we are being asked to expand our area of ministry to duplicate these methods in other regions of the Amazon.


Leadership Training

At the core of AV’s identity is a commitment to empower and launch Brazilian leaders for missions work. That is why our Leadership Institute is at the forefront of our mission. These new leaders are required to go their village and the surrounding areas to lead in Bible studies and discipleship.

Short Term Mission Teams

We send out mission teams of all sizes from our partners in Brazil and the United States for short term trips. Check out our Short Term Trips to learn more about our philosophy and to see available trip dates. Apply to join a team or contact us to lead a new team from your church or missions organization.



There is water almost everywhere in the Amazon but sadly the river water is also a source of major health problems for the people that depend on it. The wells and filters that we install give the clean water that they desperately need and it gives us the opportunity to introduce them to the source of "Living Water."

Medical and Dental

The vast majority of people that we serve lack access to basic medical or dental care. Their remote location can make a simple medical problem become a major emergency. That's why we mobilize doctors and dentist to work in places deep within the jungle to provide much needed care.


Elmer Lessa |Pastor, Director

Elmer is a Member of AV's Board of Directors and provides leadership for our sister organization in Brazil, 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 in the Amazon River region to this day.

Watch the video and get to know Pastor Elmer.

Felix Albuquerque Junior |Communications Manager | Brazil

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 Brazilian 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 since high school. Michael graduated with a degree in International Ministry at Moody Bible Institute in 2013. Leah is a doctor in the In His Image family medicine residency program  in Tulsa, OK.

JARROD LANDERS | Videographer, Communications | U.S.A.

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.


Board Of Directors

The following individuals generously serve AmazonVida on our Board of Directors: 

Elmer Lessa, Marty Davenport (President), Christina Davenport (Treasurer), Joshua Rolf, Brent Hagenbuch, Lauren Newman Burge, Bryan Gibbs, Luke Buster, Ken Fifer and Rick Morgan.


Our Doctrine 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).