On Monday nights, Bing Perrine took his 1-year-old son, Maddox, for their boys' nights out to a house on Front Street.
The house was the St. Jude Dream Home, which was raffled on Sunday as a benefit for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As they sat in front of the house, Perrine prayed.
"If it's good with you and good with us and good for St. Jude's, then this will be our new house," Perrine said in his conversations with God.
Perrine and his wife, Lane, are not unfamiliar with prayer. Perrine suffers from a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, which has left him with four holes in the valves of his heart and a defibrillator and pacemaker in his chest.
The defibrillator came from St. Jude's, and, when the Perrines heard of the Dream Home raffle, they knew this was their chance to give back - at a cost of $100 a ticket.
And so the Perrines prayed. Bing Perrine believed the family should buy three tickets.
His wife "was under more frugal guidance by the Lord," he said. "She said, if we were meant to have the house, we should only buy one ticket."
The family compromised and bought two under the names Mr. and Mrs. Bing Perrine.
And, on Monday nights, Perrine took his young son out to the home.
"We went out there every Monday and prayed over it," he said. "And we bought a third ticket."
The third ticket was purchased by Perrine's wife under the name Lane Perrine.
And that was the name that was announced during KTVQ's live telecast on Sunday night.
At the time, the Perrine family was watching the television together in their home across the street from the downtown Gainan's. When it came time to announce the winners of the home, Perrine held up his son and said, half-joking, "Watch! We're going to win a house."
"Then we did," Perrine said. "And I just about dropped him."
Greg McCall of McCall Development, which oversaw construction of the home, was amazed by the Perrines' story. As volunteers worked on the house, they wrote blessings on the floor: blessings for the children in St. Jude's hospitals, but for the family who would own the house.
"I just can't believe that God answers prayers like that," McCall said.
The supplies and labor for the house were donated, so all the proceeds from raffle of the energy-efficient home went directly to St. Jude's.
"Everything we did as a community coming together to build this house so we were able to completely gift this home to St. Jude's," McCall said. "It's very special because of that."
The home, the first of its kind in Billings, is a "net-zero" house, a house that would be "completely sustainable in and of itself," McCall said.
After hosting open houses and leaving the lights on for hours at a time, McCall said, "We still have a credit with NorthWestern Energy. The house is currently producing more energy than it needs."
For the Perrines, that would mean no energy bill. That would help the family tremendously, as Perrine's pre-existing heart condition makes obtaining insurance difficult, if not impossible. The Perrines are working on paying medical bills for Perrine's defibrillator and pacemaker, as well as trying to earn enough money for another heart surgery that would, hopefully, repair the holes in Perrine's valves.
To that end, the family was the beneficiary of a fundraiser hosted by the Montana Brewing Co. on Saturday. More than $12,000 was raised.
"It was a really, really great weekend all around," Perrine said.
There is one potential roadblock on the Perrines' path to their new home, and that is the income taxes on the $400,000 home. For now, the Perrines don't know how they will face that challenge.
"If God wants us to have it, He'll give us a way," Perrine said. "We don't have a plan just yet, though."
McCall hopes the community will rally around this "beautiful family."
"I couldn't have imagined a better winner," he said. "This house really is a dream home for them. We, as a community, need to find a way so that the tax consequences of this house don't stop their dream from coming true."
Contact Cathy Ulrich at email@example.com or 657-1241.