We believe that God has often used the wilderness to not only train but renew his people.

About New Trails Ministry

New Trails Ministry, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, came out of a desire to offer support to men and women in ministry and other helping professions.

As a pastor, volunteer firefighter, a therapist and a long term ministry couple, we know firsthand the challenges and stresses you encounter day to day.

While there are many resources that do an excellent job of supporting you in this journey, New Trails is born of the conviction that there is something unique about providing this support in a remote location that brings healing and encouragement.

Who Are We

We are Rodney and Deborah Veldhuizen (Rod and Deb), we met while at Northwestern College, in Orange City, Iowa, in 1974.   We were married in that community in 1978.  Deb grew up on a family farm in Nebraska, about 20 miles north of Omaha, while Rod grew up in the Central Valley of California, about 60 miles south of Sacramento. Since we have been married, we have lived in Massachusetts where Rod attended Seminary. We served our first church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Following Kalamazoo we have lived in Eddyville, Iowa; Canton, South Dakota; Yankton, South Dakota and currently our address is Custer, South Dakota. Rod and Deb both agree that our time in South Dakota is the longest either of us has lived in one state and South Dakota is now “home“.

How did we come to choose the outdoors as a venue for renewal?
To begin with, growing up in the Central Valley of California I (Rod) would wake up every morning to see the sun rise over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and in the evening see the sun set over the Coast Range. For summer vacations my family were frequent visitors to those mountains. Throughout my life the outdoors and the wilderness have been a place of healing and solace for me.

My love of backpacking developed when our son was old enough to join Boy Scouts and I was introduced to backpacking by joining a 10 day trek to Philmont Scout Ranch, Arizona, the Boy Scouts’ premiere backpacking reservation back in 2000. Since that time I have lead multiple treks with the Scouts, and groups of teens from a church camp, as well as our church youth. Twice Deb and I have led couples on backpack trips into the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. However our favorite trip as a couple came when we backpacked 35 miles down the Pacific Crest Trail in California for our 35th Wedding Anniversary.

Beyond our love for camping in remote places, and enjoying the solitude of those locations, research is indicating the benefits for both physical and mental health found in spending time in the outdoors.

Christian Ministry

Statement of Faith

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  • We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

“As adopted by the National Association of Evangelicals.”

Rodney Veldhuizen, LMFT-QMHP

Director, New Trails Ministry

  • 2018 to Present:  New Trails Ministry, Inc, Custer, South Dakota
    ~Founder-Director New Trails Ministry Inc
  • 1997-2018: Riverview Reformed Church, Yankton, South Dakota
    ~Senior Pastor/Director Family Education and Counseling Center
  • 1989-1997: Bethany Reformed Church, Canton, South Dakota
    ~Senior Pastor
  • 1983-1989: Faith Community Church, Eddyville, Iowa
    ~Senior Pastor
  • 1981-1983: Trinity Reformed Church, Kalamazoo Michigan
    ~Associate Pastor
  • 2002-2005: Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI
    ~Doctor of Ministry Degree–Systems Theory and Church Health
  • 1997-2000: North American Baptist Seminary, Sioux Falls, SD
    ~Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • 1978-1981: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA
    ~Masters of Divinity
  • 1974-1978: Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa
    ~BA in Psychology and Philosophy
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in South Dakota; License # LMFT 1207
  • Licensed Marital and Family Therapist in Iowa, License #086810
Professional Affiliations
  • Clinical Member, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Federation of Fire Chaplains