By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The Rev. Brooks Wadsworth believes that helping others is his divine calling. That's why when he was given an opportunity to assist in the Philippines recovery effort after a deadly typhoon devastated the country, he didn't hesitate to pack his bags, even though it meant spending Thanksgiving away from his wife, Whitney, and their six children.
Wadworth, along with seven members of the Rescue 24/N.C. Baptist Disaster Relief response team, boarded an airplane on Nov. 20 for a 10-day disaster relief mission trip. They arrived back on U.S. soil two days after Thanksgiving. For Wadsworth, the mission trip was one of about a half-dozen that he has been involved in.
"God wants us to comfort those who are in need," Wadsworth said. By going over there, "This was a way to bring hope for those who have none."
Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines Nov. 8. destroying just about everything in its path. Approximately 4,000 people were reportedly killed and 4 million homes destroyed. Rescue 24 operated in one of the hardest hit areas — Tacloban City.
"When we got there debris was everywhere," he said. "Vehicles were overturned and roofs were missing from just about all the buildings.
Wasdworth, the pastor of Robersonville First Baptist Church, said his crew worked at a mobile clinic for an evacuation center for about 800 displaced residents who were living in classrooms of an elementary school. The clinic treated the Filipinos who had skin diseases, respiratory problems and wounds. The Filipinos visited the clinic for treatment. However, one of Wadsworth's most rewarding moments of the mission trip came when he and a team member left the confines of the clinic to assist a woman.
"We got word that there was a woman who was in so much pain," Wadsworth said. "She had been unconscious and had life threatening wounds— left untreated she would have died. I and another teammate literally carried her where we could find transportation and get her to a more sterile environment to be treated. She came through just fine."
Another memorable moment Wadsworth spoke about involved children. He introduced them to a game that they likely will never forget.
"One day while we were waiting for someone to pick us up and carry us to the evacuation center, we played a very simple game of "duck duck goose" in which none of them had never heard of. When we came back the next day they were following me around and wanted me to play "duck duck goose." It became a norm everyday. We had to play "duck duck goose. Doing some fun things with them brings a little bit of joy and fun in their lives during a desperate situation. It changed the whole mood for the team and the community that we were living in."
After arriving back to his Tarboro home on Saturday, Wadsworth took off his mission relief hat and donned his family hat. One of the first things he did was assist in putting up the Christmas tree.
It is likely that the Wadsworth family will enjoy this Christmas together. However, it is not a full guarantee.
"We're on call, so it's my duty to go," he said. "God gave me the ability to help other peoples in disaster situations and I do it out of love for the Lord. He gave so much to me, why wouldn't I give back to someone else.
"He paid the ultimate sacrifice (so) its really nothing for me to give to others. That's why I do it."