Who would have thought that a shoebox filled with gifts would bring two hearts together?
In 2000, Joana received a Christmas gift-filled shoebox at a vacation bible school in Quezon City. Aside from the gifts, she found something priceless inside the box; an American boy’s photo wearing a cowboy shirt, as well as his name and address.
Young Joana decided to write a letter to the little blonde boy. Unfortunately, the letter didn’t get through his mailbox.
After 11 years, Facebook came which gave Joana the opportunity to see what happened to the little blonde boy. She searched his name “Tyrel Wolfe” on social media.
Among the numerous options that appeared was that of a man from Idaho. Now you might be wondering why the man from Idaho caught her interest. Apparently, the little blonde boy’s picture was shot in a rustic mountain background and Joana knew Idaho had mountains.
Not knowing what’s going to happen next, Joana hit the “Add as friend” button.
To cut the story short, Joana discovered that it was really Tyrel who sent her the shoebox gift more than a decade ago. Through the social media, the two were able to pursue friendship despite being miles apart.
Determined to meet Joana in person, Tyrel flew to the Philippines in June 2013. During his 10-day stay in the country, he asked for the permission of Joana’s father to date her.
“I wanted to spend every moment I could with Joana while I was there, because once I left I didn’t know what would happen next. All I knew was Joana was the one, ” he said.
Joana’s dad, who is a pastor, approved of their relationship.
Fast forward 2014, Tyrel and Joana tied the knot in an outdoor ceremony held in Tyrel’s parents’ 400-acre cattle ranch.
Since shoebox brought the pair together, Joana and Tyrel requested their wedding guests to bring shoeboxes filled with gifts. The shoebox gifts were donated to Christian aid’s headquarters as part of the Operation Christmas Child, the same program that brought them together.
In the future, the couple intends to involve their children in their mission.
Tyrel added: “I remember as a little boy, I was so excited to know the toys and other items I put in the box would bring joy to another child somewhere else in the world. I just didn’t know the joy it would bring back to me one day.”