0813 Sexton Family
Left: Ashtyn, Mike and Sherri Sexton. Right: the Sextons will teach students at Rancho Sordo Mudo trade skills such as knitting so they can earn a living upon graduation.
Sherri Sexton hates sand. And the heat. And pretty much everything that goes with it.
“We are mountain people, and we love air conditioning!” said the mother, who is in final preparations to leave her job as a marketing specialist at Backus Orthodontics to become a full-time missionary in Baja California, Mexico. “My human flesh could not just want to move to the desert where there is sand and 110 degree temperatures.”
Sexton admits that the decision to sell their home, cars and personal belongings and move her family to a foreign country has been on her heart for years, though she tried to ignore it. Sexton first traveled to Mexico for mission work in the summer of 2008. While her husband, Mike, had confessed that he’d long felt called to mission work, it was a notion Sexton, at the time, didn’t share.
“I kept saying no; I am family-oriented and [told him] I will not leave my family or my country,” she said. “But, the Lord spoke very clearly to me on that trip.”
During that 2008 journey to the city of Zacatecas, Mexico, Sexton said she experienced a profound change of heart.
“Living in the day we do and living in the South, we are a very prejudiced people. You don’t just wake up one day and decide you are going to love a certain group of people,” she said. “But I heard Him say to me, ‘These are my people. And I love them. And you’re going to love them like I love them.’ That is a love He put in my heart.”
Fast-forward to summer 2013: the Sextons are working toward the 90 percent funding requirement their sponsoring organization, Pioneers, has established before authorizing the family to transition into full-time missionaries. Sexton is hopeful that she, Mike and their 13-year-old daughter, Ashtyn, will be settled into their new home and roles as early as this fall.
The Sextons have been assigned to assist with Rancho Sordo Mudo, a free school for deaf children that is located in Guadalupe Valley.
The 40-year-old facility serves as a turning point for deaf children who have been rejected by their families and left on their own. When these abandoned children are identified by police, they are brought to the school.
“We give them a language (sign language), and once they can communicate, they are given an education,” said Sexton, adding that her role at the Ranch will include teaching the girls a trade, such as baking or sewing, so they have the means to earn a living upon graduation.
Rancho Sordo Mudo currently houses 42 children, who are fed primarily from non-perishable food pantry donations. Mike will add farming to the ranch.
“The kids don’t get a lot of protein or meat, so part of his role will be to supply these kids with both on a regular basis.”
Emotional nurturing will be another significant part of their work.
“There is a lot of defiance and acting out because they don’t have a language,” Sexton said. “And once they do learn to communicate, there is a lot of anger about why their families abandoned them. They’ve been caught up with drugs, prostitution and trafficking with no means to express themselves.”
Sexton admits she is as anxious as she is excited to arrive and get started.
“Something just happened when we were there. We just knew this is the place we will call ‘home’ now. We know it will mean a lot of changes for our family, but that is okay.”
To learn more about the Sexton family’s missionary work, visit journeytoaharvest.blogspot.com