In 2001, Sister Mariama Soulet Changuama was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Sister Chanaguama was raised Muslim on the island of Comoros, but she very much disliked the prevailing belief of polygamy. Her father had five wives and children were raised in several different locations. While attending school in Madagascar, she was approached by two Elders in the street, who asked her if she was Christian? Years early, she had met her husband, a policeman, and in 1972 they were married. He was of the traditional religion, a protestant. She responded that yes she was indeed a Christian, had the lessons and embraced the gospel. A year later, her husband, Justin Rakotoarisoa was baptized.
When Mariama and her husband were married, she was disowned by her family because she was Christian. For 15 years, they would not speak to her. Finally at that end of that period of time, they softened but when they learned that she was Mormon, they continued to not speak to her for another 10 years. But then something happened to soften their hearts – they observed the blessings of the gospel that had come into the Rakotoarisoa home. You see, the Rakotoarisoas raised 8 children: one boy and 7 girls. All but one have married in the Church. Two have served missions. They have been blessed with 16 grandchildren. They were all sealed in the Johannesburg, South Africa temple on August 22, 2008 at 2:05 p.m.
Brother Rakotoarisoa has served as an Elders Quorum President and as a bishop for seven years. He recently retired having served a stellar career in the police force in Antananarivo. They have just completed their training at the Ghana MTC and now return to Madagascar, where they will serve as an MLS couple in Fianarantsoa, about 400 km South of Antananarivo.