At age 7, Joana was contacted by her husband for the first time. Sounds strange right? Just wait till you hear how it happened.
In 2000, Tyrel Wolfe, a 7 year old boy in Idaho USA, decided to participate in Operation Christmas Child to give to others who are in less fortunate situations. The organization sends care packages to kids across the world. The recipient of Tyrel’s shoebox was a girl named Joana in the Philippines, who got it by chance at a graduation ceremony from her church in Manila.
Tyrel had included a photo of himself, as well as his name and address in the box, and so Joana was able to write him a thank-you letter expressing her gratitude. For most, that would be the end of the story. But not for these two. In 2011, Joana decided to hunt down the kind boy who had sent her a package over a decade ago on Facebook. While several results came up when she searched the name “Tyrel Wolfe,” she took a chance on a profile in a rural section of Idaho. The photo she’d received in 2000 showed a young boy in a cowboy outfit so she figured that might have been a good connection. Back in the U.S., Tyrel logged into Facebook to see a curious friend request from, as he put it, “a random girl in the Philippines.”
But of course, she was anything but random.
The two spent a year exchanging Facebook messages, letters and photos, catching up on all the years they’d spent apart. They more they talked, the more they realized what they had in common. They were both big fans of music, and liked to sing and play instruments. They were also both spiritual people, being strong Christians. Despite having busy lives of their owns and with a 15-hour time difference between Idaho and the Philippines, they were careful to make time each day to talk, and soon a strong connection grew between them. Finally, Tyrel decided to visit her. It was a bit of a nerve-wracking trip for him at times, but the pair were united at last. “Once I saw his face, an amazing feeling came over me,” Joana said. “I was so happy I cried.”
Tyrel would return to the Philippines after his initial visit, and, with the blessings of their parents, Joana and Tyrel began officially dating. Finally, Tyrel mustered up the strength to pop the question. The next few months were spent working out the paperwork, and with Joana preparing to start a new life in Idaho. This was an added bonus of reconnecting with Tyrel – she’d always wanted to live in the US after hearing so much about it from Tyrel.
Their wedding was beautiful and just the way they wanted. While Joana opted for a white gown, Tyrel went with a barong, the traditional Filipino grooms’ embroidered shirt. In light of how they met, Joana and Tyrel have decided to make Operation Christmas Child part of their yearly tradition, and hope to have their future children involved as well.
This is a beautiful story that just goes to show that sometimes, things are just meant to be. We hope you feel as inspired and touched from their love story as we are today.
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