Okay, so I know it's been more than six months since the last post about this, and I've had three different companions since then, but here is my follow-up (the best I can remember).
The first week was a bit rough. I didn't know the area, I didn't know my companion, I didn't know the people. Basically, I had no idea what I'd been thrust into. Plus, my new companion was Mexican, and so her culture and simply her manner was very different than I was used to. I assumed as senior companion that I had to be the one in charge of everything and I was the one to teach, not be taught. And I thought my way was better, because I had more experience in the mission field than she did (though only by six weeks). And so we clashed several times, especially over planning. And it took a while to resolve those differences.
Finally, we went on exchanges. That means one companionship of sisters, known as sister training leaders, exchanges companions with another companionship in order to help each sister learn from watching the way others work and teach. So my companion went with another missionary named Sister Luna and I went with another named Sister Ricks (who, coincidentally, happens to be my current companion). I went to her area, and learned a ton from her. But the thing that stuck with me the most was what she said about senior companions--that titles like that don't matter at all, because we are all equal and learning together. All we need to be concerned about is the work and the people. I thought about that a lot, and decided to apply it.
I stopped worrying about being senior companion and started worrying about simply being a better missionary and a good example. During this time I spent quite a few nights on my knees, asking sincerely for help from on high. I studied hard about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the instrument of change. I tried to improve my teaching skills. I applied the things I learned--that the Spirit told me what I needed to improve on. I worked for the people, trying to have sincere love and concern for them and really trying to do what was best for them. I set goals to improve and made plans to do it. As I studied and worked, I strengthened my testimony. And as my understanding of the gospel increased, I found myself changing. Little by little, and it was hard, but it was happening, slowly but surely.
I was with this companion for just about three months, or two 6-week periods, and I grew the most I ever have on my mission to this date in such a short amount of time. I feel so blessed for that challenging time in my mission, because I have come out the better and learned to be good friends with someone who at first seemed completely different from me. It was completely worth it, and I'm so glad I still have time on my mission to become better every day.