Every year, Samaritan's Purse collects shoeboxes filled with gifts to give to children in need all over the world. In the summer of 2000, an 8-year-old Filipina girl named Joana received such a box and opened it to find several gifts... and a picture of the little boy who had sent the box. He was wearing a cowboy shirt and holding a lariat and had included his name and address on the back of the photo. Joana decided to send him a "thank you" note to say how much she appreciated her gift. But unfortunately, the letter never reached him.
Eleven years later, Joana decided to try again. She searched for his name - Tyrel Wolfe - on Facebook and several options came up, but one in particular stood out. One picture was of a boy in cowboy attire. The picture belonged to a Tyrel Wolfe in Idaho, which is where the box had been sent from. Joana sent a friend request and a message and waited for a reply. She didn't have to wait very long though; Tyrel accepted her invitation to chat, and they struck up a correspondence.
After a year of sending messages back and forth, Tyrel decided he had to see Joana face to face. He was able to purchase a plane ticket to Manila and at last was on his way. When Joana saw Tyrel for the first time, she cried with happiness. Tyrel loved Joana and asked her father if he could begin a courtship. Her father agreed. Tyrel was able to stay for 10 days, and when he came home he began to plan for a second trip as soon as he had saved enough money.
This time he stayed for a month. He also took another important step in the relationship - he asked Joana's father for his daughter's hand in marriage. Her father said yes! Joana was able to return with Tyrel to the US on a fiancee visa, and on October 5, 2014, the couple was married in a beautiful ceremony on Tyrel's parents' ranch. “I was so excited to know my box would bring joy to a child somewhere else in the world." Tyrell said. "I just didn’t know the joy that it would bring back to me one day.”