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Sarodroa: A Special Place, a Lesson of Self-Reliance

Sarodroa: A Special Place, a Lesson of Self-Reliance
On a hillside, amongst a small numbers of homes, three hours from the capital city of Antananarivo, Madagascar, stands a small wooden chapel called the Sarodroa meetinghouse. To reach the chapel, you travel on a paved, windy two-lane road. From the highway you can choose to walk, or if you have a four-wheel drive, you can drive almost to the chapel, although some walking is still required.
Sarodroa

No one in this community has a vehicle. The dirt road is challenging, with deep ruts created by teams of zebu pulling high, two-wheeled wagons. Several years ago, one of the families who lived in Sarodroa moved away. In their new community, they were approached by the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and several members of the family were baptized. In 2009, they moved back to Sarodroa. The nearest LDS church was many kilometers away and there were no other members nearby.

Because the mode of transportation was either by walking or riding in a wood wagon drawn by a zebu team, they decided to meet together in a home. The number of members started to increase, and in 2011, it officially became a branch. The Saints wanted to have a church closer to them because they soon outgrew the home where they were meeting. These members were willing to build their own facility if the Church could provide them with the building materials.

In 2013, the small wooden church was built. It had small vented windows, a dirt floor, and a tin roof that kept them dry from the storms. This facility offered them peace and security since there is no organized village, just scattered farmhouses with no running water or electricity. The members loved their little wooden church and were willing to give of their time and talents as they shared their testimonies of Christ.

The Church did not remain small for long. The membership has grown from just one family to 120 members with over 100 attending every week. In October 2015, there was a new chapel of concrete and brick built by the members. The old wooden chapel is now divided into classrooms and a bishop’s office. Again, all the building materials were hauled by truck then carried up the hill by wagon and zebu. There is a river nearby where baptisms are performed. The closest electricity is 50 kilometers away, so a solar panel was installed to power a few lights and the organ. The chapel is clean, neat, and organized. The members love and respect their house of worship. A wonderful spirit exists around this small but needed place.
Sarodroa

'Members are practising temporal and spiritual self-reliance by providing for themselves,” commented Brother Ted Nielsen, who visited their finished building. He believes that their faith, hard work, money management, and service to others demonstrate these principles. They have learned how to work, make bricks, grow vegetables, and plant rice gardens. They take care of their temporal needs as well as their social, emotional, and spiritual needs. He continued, “There is a very spiritual feeling when you visit this area because the members are truly examples of the gospel in action.”

Sarodroa