Couple Donates Home With Ministry in Mind

The Smiths are donating their expansive home to Fresno Pacific University.

Ted and Joyce Smith had big plans when they remodeled their home in 1999 — adding nearly 2,000 square feet plus a guest house.

“We knew we wanted it to be used for ministry,” says Joyce. “We desired it to be a refuge, retreat and a great place for missionaries and church functions.”

Over the years, the main residence and the adjacent guest house in Fresno, Calif., have been exactly that. The Smiths, members of Clovis Evangelical Free Church, have hosted youth groups, visiting missionaries and church retreats.

But Ted’s health began to change and when he sold their TSE Brake business in 2008, they decided to downsize. In 2013, the Smiths plan to move into their new apartment at The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens, an ABHOW community in Fresno.

With that decision behind them, the Smiths still needed to figure out what to do with their home. Ted, 80, and Joyce, 77, hoped it would continue to be used for ministry, and they wanted some say regarding its future.

“So, we prayed,” says Ted. “And we waited.”

A close friend who happens to be a board member at Fresno Pacific University suggested they donate their home to the private Christian school, which would use it as a residence for presidents of the university. The Smiths were already intimately acquainted with the school: a daughter and granddaughter are alumni, and a son-in-law is a professor there.

“It was an answer to prayer,” says Ted.

Not only will the home serve as the residence of the school president, it will also be available for use by visiting missionaries and other gatherings associated with the university. That is important to the Smiths.

Indeed, they’ve served their community in numerous ways over the years. Ted has been a board member of Hume Lake Christian Camps for 35 years and was a Youth for Christ board member for five. He has also served as an elder at their church. Joyce has authored numerous Bible study books and participated in short-term mission trips to Cuba, Russia, El Salvador, Chile and Costa Rica. Together they have mentored others through Bible studies and church groups.

Now they look forward to continuing their lives of service while residing at The Terraces.

“I want to reach out to others through Bible studies and prayer groups,” says Joyce. “And I think Ted would like to start a hunting and fishing club.”

“My life’s verse is Colossians 3:23,” says Ted. “‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.’”

That goal, says the couple, will never change no matter where they live.


Founded in 1949, ABHOW is widely known for its pioneering leadership in senior housing and health care. The company serves more than 5,000 residents in 43 retirement communities in California, Arizona, Nevada and Washington.

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This article appears in the October 2012 issue of ABHOW Words.