Get To Know Us


We Have The Experience You Can Trust

We have a long history that began in 1952, through the ministry that has evolved into AmazonVida, God started a work in the Amazon village of Parintins, Brazil that would eventually touch the world. Pastor Elmer Lessa father, Eduardo Lessa, 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.”

The small village of Parintins was the answer to his prayers. Known for its deep spiritual roots as well as an area where the power of Satan worked heavily it was no wonder then that 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. In 1952 Eduardo along with 8 other believers, founded the first church in Parintins that has grown and is still flourishing to this day. They began to not only reach Parintins, but because of their heart for missions, they also began to strategically reach their neighboring villages as well.

Core Values

Mission Minded

  • We are determined and uncompromising in our commitment to reaching the lost, our mission work includes long term discipleship and planting churches.
  • 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 focusing entirely on launching leaders to biblically reach the least and the unreached.

Leader Mobilization

  • We are all about discovering, developing, and launching nationals to do mission work that are equipped to serve the Amazon, greater Brazil and the world.
  • We believe in missions work that mobilizes 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.” (Acts 20:24)


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).