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How A Shoebox Brought This Couple Together

A love story 13 years in the making!

Tyrel and Joana married on October 5, 2014. He is an Idaho, USA native, while she was born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines. Their love story all began with one shoebox. 

When Tyrel was seven years old, he packed a shoebox filled with gifts and a photo of him (in a cowboy hat!) for a kid in another country through Operation Christmas Child. Joana, then eight years old, received the package in Quezon City, and sent Tyrel a thank you letter. Although she never heard back from him, she decided to keep his photo and address. 

Many years later, Joana decided to search for him online. After several failed attempts, she stumbled upon a Facebook profile of who seemed to be the same Tyrel that sent her the package 11 years ago. The two exchanged direct messages, and Tyrel confirmed that he was the same kid that sent her the shoebox. 


Thirteen years after he sent the shoebox, he decided to fly to Manila to meet Joana and her family. After 10 days in the Philippines, he knew he was in love. “I wanted to spend every moment I could with Joana while I was there, because once I left I didn’t know what would happen next,” Tyrel said. “All I knew was Joana was the one.”

Tyrel learned how to ask for Joana's father's permission to have her hand in marriage in full Filipino. And when they married in Tyrel's family's cattle ranch back in Idaho, he wore a Barong Tagalog. The couple also asked their wedding guests to bring shoeboxes in place of wedding gifts to celebrate their matrimony. 

“I remember as a little boy, I was so excited to know the toys and other items I put in the box would bring joy to another child somewhere else in the world. I just didn’t know the joy it would bring back to me one day,” Tyrel said. 

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Aww, you guys. <3

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