The heritage of Skogheim revolves around FAITH and FRIENDSHIP and dates back to the arrival of the first Norwegian settlers in 1882. Kristian Brauteseth, the son of one of the early settlers, with his young family developed their plot as a family homestead. They named their farm, SKOGHEIM HVILESTED which means “Home in the Trees” and “Place of Rest”. This family was blessed with eight sons. One son, Nils, took over the management of the farm. He developed it as a hostel until God directed him to use it as a Christian Conference Centre.
In 1977 when the project became too large to be managed as a private concern Skogheim was sold to the Africa Evangelical Fellowship. Further development saw the occupancy double by 1983 when the AEF for geographic and logistic reasons decided to sell the property.
In 1984 the Skogheim Christian Trust was formed when God led 380 “Friends of Skogheim” to band together with a vision for continuing the ministry of Skogheim as a Christian Conference Centre. He supplied the necessary funds and a lawyer to facilitate the purchase of the property with a down payment and a bond.
Skogheim continued to grow and it soon became apparent that further facilities would be needed. A property adjacent to Skogheim became available. The Friends of Skogheim once again joined hands in February 1988 to raise the necessary funds and the Viking property was secured. The down payment was provided within 72 hours and the full purchase price met within 18 months. With the added facilities in the Viking the occupancy of Skogheim was increased by more than a third.
The Lord continued to bless the work and while the camp’s numbers grew a need for additional family rooms and lounges became evident. To meet this need a building project was initiated in 1990 by a generous benefactor. The dedication of Ira Lind, the architect, saw the design of a block of family rooms, called “The Nest”, completed. Since then additional donations have seen the building of Vista, the expansion of the Nils hall to accommodate 350 people and the building of the Pavilion with the needs of campers in mind.
In 2005 we began a project to develop outdoor facilities for groups. Numerous outdoor game facilities were completed and an indigenous “Prayer Garden” was initiated with trees donated by ‘Friends of Skogheim”. This 10 acre section of Skogheim is still under development while being used by many of our guests as a quiet haven to spend time with God and reflect on His Word.
In 2009 God led Skogheim into a first phase of outreach into the local community with the development of our youth ministry and development division “Impilo neqiniso’ (Life & Truth). Once again a generous benefactor provided the funding to establish ‘tent city’ and the low-ropes course as a base for the youth ministry.
In 2011 the second phase ‘Aletheia Ministries’ was launched to provide individuals with tools to help them in their study of God’s Word and in their ministries. Valuable teaching tools and material is being sourced and translated into Zulu. Seminars conducted in English and Zulu are reaching out into our local community to build the faith of Believers and help them in their God given calling.
God has wonderfully and miraculously provided for Skogheim through the many FRIENDS who have given not only of their material resources, but also of themselves to enable the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to be proclaimed at Skogheim through the ministries of the Conference Centre, Impilo neqinisio and Aletheia Ministries.
Our calling to create a ‘Place of Rest’ of the finest quality to facilitate the growth of Believers in Christ and strengthen them in their walk with God through His Word continues to drive our vision for Skogheim today. We believe that God set this property aside to be a blessing to His Church and the communities surrounding it. We will continue to strive to improve and make effective the ‘talent’ that He has given to us to build His Kingdom. There is a great work still to be done. The vision for Skogheim, in a country which holds forth many challenges for the gospel, continues to burn brightly.