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Pedal to Resettle Rider Highlight: Meet Paul Sassenrath

Paul is a World Relief Sacramento volunteer, advisory council member and a Pedal to Resettle 2019 rider. We asked him to share his volunteer journey and why he has signed up to ride 180+ miles this September to fundraise for refugee families in the greater Sacramento area. 

About three years ago, I attended a Christian leadership event and heard a World Relief staff member speak. I had been following the refugee crisis on the news and was feeling increasingly hopeless. What are we going to do? How are we going to solve this problem? I was debriefing the event with my wife that night, and I broke down. God was clearly at work in me.

My involvement with World Relief began in fits and starts. I attended a volunteer training, but I was slow to get connected. Then, I met (now) World Relief’s director, Kerry Ham. I felt an instant connection. We are both operations guys, we think and strategize in similar ways. I helped him start an advisory council or what you might call a board. We recruited members and established our purpose and vision as a council. I knew, however, I needed to do more than play a strategic role. I needed to work with refugees directly. 

I signed up to be a Good Neighbor. I was a one-man team and was partnered with an Afghan family. We have grown to be good friends and my wife and I visited them in the hospital when they had their third child. While I have a passion for working with refugees, as a person of faith, I believe we are called to welcome the stranger. There are situations where I believe a person might pray about how or whether to engage. Helping those in need is not one of those situations. It is not a decision to pray about; it’s something you do.

I’m excited to participate in Pedal to Resettle. I have a passion for working with refugees, and cycling is always something I’ve enjoyed. Growing up in Davis, CA, riding a bike is second nature. It’s a city where everyone bikes. Granted, I have never ridden three days in a row, and this is something I’ll need to train for. I’m especially looking forward to day two as my wife will join me, and we’ll ride our tandem bike. There’s an energy that comes with being in a group, so I’m looking forward to joining others on this ride. 

Paul along with other Pedal to Resettle riders fundraise to support newly arrived families with vital services such as housing, employment, education and immigration legal services. Learn more about joining Pedal to Resettle 2019 as a rider, donor or volunteer. It’s simple: you ride, refugees thrive.

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