This couple’s beautiful love story compels us to believe in destiny. What else could it be that united these two people together, who were initially separated by thousands of miles?
The United States is 8,222 miles (13,232 km) apart from the Philippines, but serendipity brought Tyrel Wolfe from Idaho and Joana Marchan from Quezon City together.
Fourteen years ago, when Tyrel Wolfe was a 7-year-old kid, he sent shoeboxes filled with school supplies, toiletries, and small toys as a Christmas gift to children in various countries through the international humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse.
His Christmas shoebox, filled with supplies, together with a photo of himself in cowboy gear, landed in the hands of Joana Marchan, among the billions of people in this world!
Joana sent Tyrel a thank you note, but somehow, the note never reached him. Even after more than a decade, she had not forgotten the cowboy Tyrel Wolfe, as the box “meant so much to her.”
In 2011, after 14 years, a mysterious force united these two strangers, when Joana finally located Tyrel on Facebook.
Like long-lost friends, Joana and Tyrel “clicked” upon their first correspondence. They shared many common interests, such as listening to Christian music and their religious faith.
They interacted with each other via Facebook for a year before Tyrel decided to make a trip to the Philippines—specifically Quezon City in Manila—for 10 days, using his savings, to pay Joana a visit.
But it was all worth it.
The moment they met each other in real life, they felt destined to be together, and fell in love right away.
“Once I saw his face, an amazing feeling came over me,” Joana recalled. “I was so happy I cried.”
“All I knew was Joana was the one,” Tyrel told Samaritan’s Purse.
And soon, Tyrel returned to the Philippines to propose marriage. The two finally pledged sacred, lifetime marriage vows on Oct. 5, 2014.
Knowing the strong and powerful effect of giving, after experiencing it themselves, they requested their guests to pack Christmas boxes to give to Samaritan’s Purse for children overseas.
“Operation Christmas Child is what brought Joana and me together, so we wanted to somehow make the project a part of our celebration,” Tyrel said.
And the couple brought these donations all the way to the organization’s North Carolina headquarters.
Who would have believed a Christmas gift would be the start of a beautiful love story? Somewhere, there is a divine matchmaker who brings two people together.