This love-without-borders narrative is what holidays are made of, and it’s fit for TV but made for real life.
A gift from the farthest reaches of the universe
Most love tales don’t start with two kids from opposite sides of the world, but this one is unique.
Tyrel Wolfe, then seven years old, was helping his parents pack Christmas shoebox gifts for children in the Philippines in the year 2000. School supplies, toiletries, and small gifts were packed as part of Operation Christmas Child’s operation, which was coordinated by Samaritan’s Purse.
Each person who packed a shoebox was asked to add a photo of themselves with their gift. As a result, the young man shared a photo of himself dressed in Western cowboy garb and then disappeared into the sunset.
A request from a random friend
At the age of 21, Wolfe got a Facebook friend request from a woman named Joanna Marchan. He didn’t pay attention to it because he didn’t think it was important.
After two years, Marchan sent me another friend request. Wolfe responded this time, wondering how she knew him, his curiosity getting the best of him. Nothing could have possibly prepared him for her response.
Marchan informed him that she had received Wolfe’s shoebox present and photograph and had treasured it for all these years. She went on to say that she had written a thank-you message, but that it had gotten lost in the mail.
“I was well aware that I was taking a significant risk. I’d never gone alone before, let alone to a foreign nation, and I was meeting people I didn’t recognize or even knew existed.” – TYREL WOLFE
When he saw her, that was swiftly put to rest.
“I had to punch myself a number of times when I eventually got there and met her because I believed it was a dream,” he remembered.
The chemistry was mutually beneficial. Marchan’s father’s blessing was required before the two could be officially married, as per Marchan’s family tradition. It was painful for Wolfe to have to return home, but it only strengthened his resolve.
“Because we didn’t know when we’d see one other again, it was one of the most difficult goodbyes I’ve ever had to say. I promised her I’d do whatever it takes to get back to her.” – TYREL WOLFE
It wouldn’t take long at all. They stayed in touch and planned their reunion. Tyrel finally gained papa bear’s consent to marry Marchan on a return trip to Manila a few months later, this time accompanied by his father Ivan.
Wolfe’s employment allows him to aid Marchan’s family back home, thus the couple decided to settle in the United States.
Marchan, on the other hand, has had a lot to take in, but she’s enjoying the voyage with her beau.
Marchan admits, “It was a tremendous change and adjustment for me.” “I grew up in the city and now live in the country, where there are less people and more space, but it’s a lovely location.”
Another commitment Wolfe and Marchan have made is to pack a shoebox with a note telling their story every Christmas season.
“We don’t want to create a fantasy for them, but we do want to express that we care and that we want to share our love with them.” – TYREL WOLFE
This beautiful story, far from being a fiction, shows us that there is love and magic all around us if we have an open heart and a little faith.