In our transfer meeting yesterday, President Poulsen told of his experience with three of his horses. They would ride up in the mountains of Utah where there are cougars and bears. The horses sense that there is potential danger around them and adapt to their particular roles as they ride. He found that the lead horse would have his ears cocked forward at all times to listen for sounds of danger. The last horse in line would have his/her ears turned as far back as they could go to listen for something trying to sneak up on them. the middle horse in the procession would have his ears constantly moving to listen for things coming at them from the sides. He told us that no matter which horse was in the lead, the ears would be the same - cocked forward. He also said that no matter what order the horses were in the procession they always assumed the role required of their position in the line.
He likened this to the different roles the missionaries play in the mission. Some are junior companions, some senior. Some are district leaders, others are zone leaders while still others are assistants to the president. Each has a role to play and a job to do and we should all be able to adapt as did the horses. Sometimes they are called to be trainers, or zone leaders and then assigned to be a senior companion, even though they have done that job previously. Some would say that we should always be moving to a "higher" position and not going back and doing something that has been done before - but that is not always the case. We accept the call and then adapt to the role assigned, just as the three horses did on the trail high in the mountains.
I am examining the various roles in my life and trying to determine how the Lord would have me play them. I can buck the system and try to be something I am not, or I can make the best of my particular assignment. I have learned that the position of stoker on a tandem bike is not to steer or brake - it is to give my all to making the bike go forward and assisting the captain as asked. If I try to decide where and when to turn, I may be leaning right when the captain wants to go straight or even left. If we don't work together, we can crash and be delayed in our progress or even suffer injuries. It is best to keep within the role assigned - then be the best and most cooperative stoker possible - let the captain decide where to go and when to stop.
I really believe that President Poulsen, although he was likening the horses to the missionaries, was giving us a life lesson to be used every day, in every situation we may find ourselves.