After so much searching, we finally found it! That's right, we finally discovered where the word "tracting" for knocking on people's doors came from. Or rather, we have 2 theories that come from long-time members of the church:
1. Church pamphlets used to be called "tracts." So when a missionary would hand out these "tracts," it was called tracting.
2. A group of houses was called a "tract." So knocking on the doors of such a group was called "tracting" or "housing."
The second theory came from a member of the stake presidency here. The first came from a guy who was really really old. You decide which has more authority on the subject.
The other day as we were doing some "housing," I saw an older man across the street. I greeted him. He walked over to us and began a lengthy explanation of why the world is going to the dumps, citing several examples. After 10 minutes (and I still didn't have any clue why he was telling us these things) he let us on our way. We knocked doors for about a half an hour and were walking back toward the man's house. He was in the front yard, and Elder Valencia jokingly said we should hide behind some bushes to avoid him Sadly, we didn't do this, and the man came over and said, "I wanted to tell you one more thing." He then took 15 minutes to tell us about 50 more things, among which were several Biblical ways to practice birth control. It was surprisingly informative, but still intensely uncomfortable.
As we drove away, I wondered how many people see us to be as crazy as we saw this man.
I am running out of time here, mostly since there's a new manager at the Apple Store who earlier asked me, "So what's it going to take for you to buy a laptop?" I struggled to not reply with "I think it's pretty obvious to see that I'm broke."
One interesting thing that happens when all your time is devoted to sharing the gospel - you constantly think of ways to apply everything to be used in missionary work.
We were washing our car the other day - "We should do a free car wash with free church videos!"
We met a graphic designer in our ward - "Oh, would you like to make some fliers for the next fireside?"
An older lady quilts - "Let's do a quilting night and invite our investigators!"
We heard about the Tiger Woods stuff - "Hey, we could go golfing with non-members and teach them the Law of Chastity at the same time!"
I'm really not sure what I'm going to think or talk about after my mission. I'm planning on most of the things I say to begin with "Back when I was on my mission..."
It's been great to hear from a lot of you this week. Have a great week, and remember, never trust a missionary over 30 ( or under 60).