Finding a New Trail of Vitality,

Your wilderness RX filled here.

Our Services

Who we Serve and How

Our primary focus is to clergy of any denomination or background.   I would also like extend an invitation to First Responders and therapists who need a place to get away and reconnect with the passion that drew them to their profession in the first place.  As a long term volunteer fire fighter and now a therapist, I know the need to get away and reconnect with our passion at times. Research is confirming, what many have felt for years, that the wilderness/nature has restorative properties that are not found indoors.  If you need a place to relax or want a more rigorous experience, I invite you to get in contact with us and we will try to provide what is needed.

While our primary focus is on clergy, we are also available to provide support and opportunity to others who are seeking time or place for a Prayer Retreat.  If housing is not available on site, we can recommend excellent camping places nearby, provide you with a camping pad on our property, or suggest local motels.  Our prayer retreats would place you in a wilderness location for as little as four hours at a time to a 24-hour solo overnight in the wilderness (someone would be nearby in case of an emergency.)  If you are interested in exploring this option, we invite you to contact us.

Our delivery is flexible enough that we can accommodate individuals who are looking for a time and place to reflect on what is going on in their lives and process the challenges they have faced, or are currently dealing with. As a husband and wife team, we are also able to work with couples who are engaged in ministry, therapy or First Responders.

We are available to work with friends, co-workers, or a group of friends/couples who would like to experience the wilderness in a backpacking venture. One of the things that Rod and Deb enjoy a great deal is introducing others to the world of backpacking and have a specially designed “Introduction to Backpacking” experience that allows you full immersion in the wilderness, with some of the amenities you desire. Don’t worry if you don’t own a backpack, we have a large selection of packs for you to borrow. We also have a couple of sleeping pads.

New Trails exists to assist you in finding healing and restoration through the use of the natural environment that is available to each one of us, but one that is frequently overlooked. If you have any other questions please contact us for more information.

  info@newtrailsministry.org
  605-760-3633

Our Fees

New Trails strives to make our services affordable. Statistically pastors rank in the top 10% of the population in terms of education, but they are only 325th of 432 occupations in terms of salaries received. As a result we have set a week long stay (Sunday evening through Saturday Morning) at $500, and a two week stay at $1,000.

Backpacking trips have a slightly different pricing depending on the number of days and the size of the group. We can outfit and lead a 3 day 2 night backpack trek within the Black Hills at a cost of $250 for 1-person, $425 for 2-people, and $200 for each additional person after that, while a trek to the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming would be around $350 per person (minimum two people) for a 3 day two night trek (does not include travel to and from the Big Horn Mountains).

One reality we know as a pastoral couple is that money, at times, can be very limited. We don’t want our fees to be the final consideration, because we have options to assist in providing this ministry to you.

We will be glad to assist you, all you need to do is Contact Us.

Coaching Support

Rod offers ongoing support via email, text or video conferencing following your time with us at New Trails. This coaching support is offered on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. If you choose the text or email support, this flexible tool allows you to ask the question and then for me to respond as time and connections allow. The video conferencing option requires a more rigid schedule for both of us, as we both need to be available at the same time. The cost of all these options will be negotiated with you prior to your departure and as with all our services we will make this affordable for you.

Hiking Expedition

With literally thousands of acres of National Forest surrounding New Trails the options for hiking are nearly limitless. However, we would offer a few options;

  1. Day Hiking from the cabin. You would stay in the cabin on the property and each day we would hike a medium distance (at your pace) allowing time to reflect on the scenery of the Black Hills as well as time to reflect alone and together on the challenges you have been facing in ministry. This option would span 2-4 days.
  2. Short backpacking trip. Rod and Deb have spent considerable time in the Black Hills and if you would like an introduction to backpacking, we offer a 3 day, 2-night trek through the Black Hills.  The advantage of this trek is that we are able to support this trek by moving some of the heavier equipment from campsite to campsite.
  3. Intermediate backpacking trip. This is for those who want to find what it is like to experience a wilderness environment. There are two options for this trip. Option A stays in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is located in the Black Elk Wilderness around Black Elk Peak. This is a three-day trek with trail camping in remote areas each night. Option B is also a three-day trek but this one takes you to the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming. The trek features several lakes and streams stocked with various species of trout, and elevation gains up to 9,600 feet. (If you choose the Wyoming adventure, we require at least 2 people and you need to plan on additional time to travel to and from the site) These treks are full out backpacking trips where all our gear is carried in our backpacks for the entire trek.
  4. Prayer Retreat Backpack trip.  While backpacking is an adventure in and of itself, there are times when you want to find a remote location to be alone with your own thoughts and reconnect with the God whom you serve.  We are able to assist in that effort as well through an assisted backpacking trek. On this trek we help you learn the ways of the backcountry, then allow you time for a “solo” time from 4 to 24 hours.  During this time, we can provide guidance to direct your time, or help you find a place and space to focus on your relationship with God.
  5. When it comes to backpacking you might hesitate thinking I don’t own a pack, or I have never backpacked before. Rod and Deb want you to know that we are able to assist you by providing some of the basics of backpacking. We have a variety of backpacks that are available for you to use, we also have a limited supply of sleeping pads. We can provide the tents and cooking/eating gear necessary to enjoy a wilderness outing.  We don’t just give you the gear, we will go along to assist you in learning how to enjoy the backcountry.

New Trails is not just for the summer any more.  The late Fall through early Spring provide a great opportunity to enjoy the Hills without the crush of the tourist season.  Fall is an excellent time to watch the season change, as the Aspens turn various shades of yellow.  If your schedule allows, this is a great time to schedule that spiritual refocusing time we all need. The Black Hills of South Dakota provide a great number of winter activities.  Among them cross country skiing, snow shoeing and if you have a snow mobile that is a popular past time as well.  While we can provide accommodations in late Fall (until November) and then again in early Spring (beginning in April) we can provide a list of local lodging options that will be open. We can help you find a place to stay as well as provide time in the wilderness in an environment not everyone is able to experience.

Camping

In addition to our cabin, we own five acres of land which means room to spread out a little bit. If you own a self contained camping trailer or motor home, we can give you a place to park during your stay with us.

Currently we are only able to offer a “primitive” site, but there is water available, along 20 amp service.

Extended Stay Option: The Blessing House

There are times when a short term sabbatical is not enough to help you recover your sense of vitality and energy. At other times, ministry has not provided what we had hoped and there is a need for an extended stay, where it is possible, to sort out the call of God on our lives.

Our cabin in Custer is ideal for the short term sabbatical. By design we provide a short term intervention that can help you assess your call or provide a place for healing and gaining some perspective. There are times and situations that require more time than we can provide in the Black Hills. What then? Is there another option? What happens if you are between ministry assignments, or your current ministry assignment has not worked as you might have desired? Or maybe you are looking for a place for an extended sabbatical, the Blessing House could be the place to come.

I would still recommend a week with us in the Hills, as there is something about meeting God in a remote location that does something for our souls, but recently we have been able to add to our ministry with a place known as the “Blessing House”. While not located in the Black Hills, the Blessing House is located in another of God’s wonderful places, the Loess Hills of Iowa, not too far from the Missouri River.

Regardless of your ministry status, the Blessing House has been dedicated to helping men and women who are in full time Christian service find a place of rest, respite, a sabbatical, or just a place to recover if needed.

Read More about The Blessing House, Extended Stay Option

What People Say About Us!

Rod and Deb love to experience God through their outdoor adventures. Rod has always been someone who cares about the physical and emotional health of leaders. New Trails brings together the Veldhuizen's passion and gifts in a way that will provide anyone the opportunity to refresh and reconnect with her/his own passion and purpose while experiencing God in new ways. A perfect fit-ness.

Dale Assink, Regional Executive

“Rod and Deb, thank you for opening your hearts and cabin to me these past few days. Though I can find respite [near home] it is not complete like it is here at New Trails… I guess the most powerful part of my time is the fact that I was never lost. Sometimes it take a guide (you two) to help you realize God is right there to show you the next step.”

A Pastor on a 3 day back pack trip

“Thank you Rod and Deb for your amazing hospitality! Grateful for our rest and refreshing.”

A missionary couple

Questions? Contact Us

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Ministry Statistics

Negative Findings

28% have at least some functional difficulty from depressive symptoms - higher than a demographically-matched sample of U.S. adults

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Positive Findings

Double the amount of physical activity

4 1/2 hours of moderate activity per week vs. 2 1/4 hours

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Negative Findings

28% have at least some functional difficulty from depressive symptoms - higher than a demographically-matched sample of U.S. adults

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Positive Findings

58% report high or very high levels of overall financial knowledge

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside some time to be with God and listen to Him.

-Henri Nouwen