Eagle Scout projects are often completed by volunteers working side by side on site, but when the COVID-19 pandemic made an in-person project impossible, Latter-day Saint McKay Nelson began thinking outside of the box. And the socially distanced project he landed on actually served to create a special human connections with youth not just from his neighborhood, but around the globe.
Church News shares that Nelson was inspired to create a podcast featuring teens reading a chapter from the Book of Mormon. In the end, Nelson collected 250 recordings from 10 countries and 15 US states. He first reached out to friends in his ward and stake to participate, but then several of his teammates from his school basketball team offered to help, even though they aren’t Church members.
“They knew the project was important to me. They are my friends, so they were willing to help,” Nelson told Church News.
Nelson also had a goal to have each chapter read by a different person, so he put out a call for more volunteers via a YouTube video. Soon he had teens from New Zealand, South Korea, Bulgaria, Spain, and England reaching out to help.
Thomas Abinadi Lameko, age 13, from Auckland, New Zealand, recorded 3 Nephi 20. Church News writes that he practiced reading his chapter over and over so he could get a good recording.
“It was pretty cool that I got to have a reading recorded and represent New Zealand,” Lameko says.
The full recording of the Book of Mormon by youth can be found at teensreadthebook.com. And while Nelson is excited about the sharing this with others (the podcast has about over 5100 downloads so far), he is also grateful for the impact the project has had on his own testimony.
“Just listening to people who are my age reading this sacred scripture to me and others has strengthened my testimony,” he said. “There is an authenticity to it.”
Learn more about the project and read other youths’ reactions at Church News.