11 Years After Sending A Shoebox, This Guy Received A Life-Changing Message

A Facebook Friend Request

They say the biggest reward when you do something good for others is the satisfaction you get from knowing you helped someone. And that is true. So when 7-year-old Tyrel Wolfe packed a box to send to a child in need, he had no idea he was planting the seeds of something that would change his own life.

Facebook/Ty Wolfe

In 2011, 18-year-old Tyrel Wolfe received a strange message on Facebook. It was a friend request from a young woman called Joana Marchan, who lived in the Philippines. He realized it was the same woman who had messaged him two years earlier, only back then he had ignored it. This time, though, he was curious.

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A Complete Stranger

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Tyrel looked at the woman’s profile, and confirmed that they had no friends in common. He’d never been to the Philippines, either, and it didn’t look like she’d been to the U.S. - much less his little town of Midvale, Idaho. How had she found him, and what did she want from him? So instead of deleting the friend request, he wrote her back.

The Mystery Deepens

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Tyrel sent Joana a message: “How do you know me?” She wrote back something that seemed out of left field. “Do you know about Samaritan’s Purse? Are you familiar with that?” read her reply. At that moment, memories from his childhood came rushing to his mind. But he still had no idea what that had to do with this woman.

A Long-Forgotten Shoebox

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When Tyrel was 7 years old, he took part in a program called Operation Christmas Child, created by the nonprofit organization Samaritan’s Purse. He packed a shoebox full of goodies like toiletries, toys, and school supplies, which would be sent to a less fortunate child somewhere across the globe. 11 years later, news of his shoebox had come back to him.

Was She The Recipient Of His Shoebox?

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“I think I got your shoebox,” Joana told Tyrel. The young man was amazed that the girl whom he had sent a care package had found him all these years later. But his parents were more skeptical. To make sure she was telling the truth, he asked her what was in the box. She didn’t remember all the contents, except for one thing.

A Serendipitous Photo

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When he filled the shoebox, Tyrel had put in something extra: a photo of himself, with his name on the back. To his surprise, Joana had kept the photo, and he asked her to describe it. “A cute cowboy with a wooden background,” she replied. Tyrel then knew she was telling the truth. It was a nice, feel-good story. But at that moment, a more amazing one was just beginning.

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