Although they married in 2014, their love began back on Christmas day 14 years before. A little American boy had sent a Christmas gift to a Filipino girl in need. It was simple. A box wrapped in green and red paper. But the small act of kindness moved the girl so much and connected the two children, from totally different worlds, together for the years to come. Many are calling their story destiny. And why shouldn’t they? If that Christmas present hadn’t been sent, these two never would have met. And even though, Tyrel Wolfe and his wife Joanna married three years ago, their love is still inspiring people to this day.
In 2000, Joana received a Christmas gift from a young Tyrel living in Idaho. The gift was sent through Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child and contained toys and gifts that Tyrel thought little Joana would love to play with. And his gift giving had been spot on. She loved it so much.
But there was something in the gift that Joana liked even more. It was the photo of Tyrel. In the image, the young freckled blond boy held a lasso around his shoulder and had this thumb in a belt loop. He looked like an American cowboy and Joana fell head over heels in love with him. Along with the photo was Tyrel’s address. And Joana planned to write to him and thank him for the gift and to begin a life-long pen pal relationship.
Joana carefully wrote Tyrel a letter of thanks. She worked on the letter for hours making it perfect. She wrote out his address neatly on the envelope and made sure she paid the perfect amount of postage. But her letter was lost in the mail. Tyrel never received it.
Although he did not get her letter, Joana did not lose faith. She still wanted to connect with Tyrel and express her gratitude for the Christmas gift.
Years later, when she had a Facebook account, she searched for Tyrel Wolfe and found her long-lost boy. She sent a friend request and he quickly accepted.
Half a world apart, they began their constant communication. They hit it off immediately and became close friends. Besides their Facebook messages, they also sent letters and small items through the mail.
In 2013, Tyrel saved up and took a trip to visit Joana in the Philippines. He was nervous, but as soon as he saw her, his heart melted. And hers did too.
“Once I saw his face, an amazing feeling came over me. I was so happy I cried,” she said.
Because Tyrel and Joana are both Christians, they believe their love was ordained from on High. And few people would disagree with that.
Watch the video report below to learn more about their relationship and how a simple Christmas gift changed everything for these two.