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Accepting a new call does have to mean several years of feeling (and playing) the stranger.

My wife and I nervously looked right and then left as we scanned the pleasant tree-lined street for house numbers. The magic number was 92, the rectory of the church I had just been called to serve, but all we saw were dozens of seemingly numberless houses.

We were anxious for our first glimpse of the house we would call home. We had followed the moving van for 150 miles. The driver led us through a labyrinth of streets and back roads. Friends will have to find us, I thought. I'll never be able to find my way out.

The van stopped in front of a nondescript house with a leaf-strewn lawn. While there was nothing to distinguish it as a rectory (the church itself was about four miles away), the key was underneath the front mat, just as one of the board members had promised.

"There probably won't be anyone there to greet you," he had said. But someone had pinned a note to the front door saying, "Welcome to your new home!"

Busy hours passed, and when the truck was finally unloaded and the movers ...

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