Experience Echo 2014 with conference co-director Cody Nord

Experience the first moments of the 85th Missions Conference through the director’s eyes.


Nord answers the SMU office phone while texting a coordinator. A majority of Nord’s day involved troubleshooting. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Jenna Schmidt, Writer

What does it take to coordinate all of Missions Conference? A lot of walking. Click on the photo to watch a bird's-eye time lapse of co-director Cody Nord's first day making Echo 2014 happen. | Screenshot/www.mapmywalk.com


To many students, 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday was the end of the academic week and the beginning of three days free from class and full of conference credit opportunities. For dozens of volunteers, 12 coordinators and two dedicated student directors, however, this wasn’t just the night before Missions Conference 2014 — this was the realization of a project a year in the making.

As the last classes emptied their rooms, Missions Conference co-directors Cody Nord and Charlie Meo met with their faithful team of staff and volunteers to transform the campus overnight from everyday desks to recreations of the foreign and domestic mission fields.

Using everything from painstakingly painted verses on canvas signs to carefully crafted wooden backdrops with LED lights, Nord and Meo’s team searched for every possible detail they could find to encompass the meaning of the conference’s theme, “Echo.”

“We thought, ‘What is every single little detail we can get?’” Nord said. “And we would do it.”

On Wednesday morning at 8:02, Nord returned to Chase Gymnasium running on an hour and a half of sleep and a cup of Starbucks, eagerly anticipating the first session and the batch of new additions that he and Meo had planned for this year’s conference. The first order of business was the parade of nations.

“How do you describe a year’s worth of preparation finally happening?” said Nord of the conference’s kickoff. “When Charlie started reading Revelation 5 and we started the parade of nations, it hit me that it was actually here.”

There was an atmosphere of constrained excitement bubbling from every staff member and volunteer as Meo, the guest band Antioch and the flag-bearing volunteers rehearsed the parade. When 8:45 finally arrived, shouts of “Let them in!” rang through the gym right before students filed in as the eagerly anticipated conference finally launched.


8:02 – Directors Cody Nord and Charlie Meo arrive at Chase Gymnasium for rehearsals before the first session
8:26 – Parade of nations rehearsal begins
8:45 – Doors open for the first session
9:01 – Conference officially kicks off
9:42 – Speaker Rodrick Gilbert shares about northern India and the mission field
10:20 – Official revealing of the prayer wall, which includes 6,000 stickers with information about unreached people groups across the world
10:56 – Volunteers help move the prayer wall into the lower SUB because of wind
11:36 – Nord checks in on the volunteers at the marketplace, ethnic lunch, photos with the camel and Global Awareness
12:02 – Nord reviews one of the Global Awareness skits
1:35 – Nord meets with his grandmothers on Metzger Lawn for the ethnic lunch hosted by the India Project
2:03 – Guest speaker Afshin Ziafat and worship band Antioch meet with Nord before 2:00 session in Chase Gym
3:35 – Nord makes his rounds on campus to check in with the volunteers once more before the second workshop
4:12 – Nord joins a packed Chase Gym for the adoption seminar led by the Thoennes and Oakes families
6:51 – Staff meets before the final Wednesday session
9:34 – Base Camp and International House of Drinks open at McNally field 

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