Love and SONshine Ministries: Giving Hope to Teen Moms

May 2024

article & photos by jamie blotske

While it may be a recent addition to the ministry landscape in Billings for sisters Heather Petty and Heidi Williams, it holds a profound significance in their hearts. It all started several years ago when Heather and Heidi responded to a calling, opening their hearts and homes to shelter and care for some of their children’s friends living in less-than-ideal circumstances. Heather stated, “It broke our hearts then and still does today.” As the years passed and they continued caring for these children, both sisters felt a persistent internal nudge toward something more. After realizing how many children in Billings do not have safe, loving home environments to learn, grow, and develop properly, Heather and Heidi knew exactly where that nudge was leading them. In March 2020, they fell to their knees and said, “God, if this is your will, make a way.”  

And from the cry of their hearts, Love and SONshine Ministries was born.   

Knowing they would need to target a specific demographic under the umbrella of homeless teens, Heather and Heidi’s faith-based ministry is dedicated to looking after the vulnerable, broken, and hurting by providing homeless pregnant teens or young mothers with safe, loving housing, life-changing programs, and education opportunities. Heather shared how this played out in her own life: "After the loss of my firstborn, I discovered compassion and kindness from others I hadn’t fully known before. Often with the deepest heartache and pain comes the greatest understanding of what it means to show unconditional love – the love of Christ – Agape love.” Out of this depth of compassion, real hope is found. Heather said, “Love and SONshine Ministries aims to eradicate the cycles of poverty, neglect, abuse, and dependence on the system by providing the love of a family and so much more.” 

Ways to Give 

Love and SONshine Ministries is not funded by the government but is entirely supported by private individuals, businesses, foundations, grants, and the faith-based community of Billings. Heather shared, “The easiest way to give to our organization is prayer. We have a strategic prayer team that receives emails with specific prayer requests. To give monetarily, there are several tabs on our website,, or you can give through ACH withdrawal from your checking or savings account.” The form to do this can be found on the website. Contact the founders or the ministry's board chair, Matthew Scheie, for more information. Heather added, “We have an endowment established through the Billings Community Foundation to take advantage of the additional tax benefits if desired.” 

Volunteer Opportunities 

Another way to give is through your time. Opportunities to volunteer include:  

  • Childcare 
  • Transportation 
  • Special events (baby showers, birthdays, graduations, etc.) 
  • Mentorship 
  • Meals 
  • Outreach events  

Beyond that, there are also opportunities to serve on various board committees such as advisory, fund development, the Radiance Event, and finance. The main goal as a volunteer is to “Embrace young mothers and children with the love of Christ,” Heather explained.  

Long-term Goals 

As with any improvement plan, there exists a long-term goal that each participant should aspire to one day achieve. For Love and SONshine Ministries, Heather says the goal would be for the girls to “come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In addition, we desire that they obtain their HiSet or graduate from High School, obtain higher education, receive trauma-informed counseling, learn necessary life skills such as parenting, proper nutrition, financial literacy, transition to independent living, and unify fathers if and when appropriate.” 

Love and SONshine is bridging the gap and supporting each underserved teen mom toward achieving these life-enhancing goals. 

Words from Mom 

The young moms who find shelter and safety at Love and SONshine have often come from a place of hopelessness, extreme hurt, and despair. Sharing their stories isn’t always easy, but one mother, newer to the ministry, speaks from her heart. “I was early in my pregnancy, searching for a place to stay every other week. I had nowhere to call home. I reached out for help and was brought to Love and SONshine. Being here, I know that I am loved, I am safe, and I have the help I need. I notice my connection with the Lord growing. I hope to follow the path that is created for me while I continue to stay at Love and SONshine homes.”  

Originally printed in the May 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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