Youth Teachers

Youth Teachers

JJ Springer grew up on a farm near Aurora. He and his wife Carol have four kids (plus a bonus cutie a couple weekends each month). They have been at Heartland since 2008. Before coming to Heartland, JJ was a teacher and worked for a family policy organization in Lincoln. He enjoys hanging out with students and pointing them to Jesus, taking mission trips to Utah and Colorado, teaching on Christian worldview and apologetics, and talking about politics. JJ has a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska and an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. JJ enjoys reading and traveling, and he’s always happy to talk about the Huskers, Chiefs, and Royals (and Eagles and Bison!). He spends most of his free time trying to figure out how Millie (the family lab) keeps getting off her leash.


Aaron Heins and his wife Michelle have been involved with the youth ministry at Heartland since 2003. They have four kids: Tyler, Andrew,  Katherine, and Nathaniel.

A Central City native, Aaron started Heins Lawn and Landscape along with his parents in 1991. He has a degree in Commercial Horticulture from Hastings Community College.

Aaron loves hunting and fishing, and camping with his family. He also likes to fix things.

He enjoys learning about Jesus along with his students. His favorite passage is Romans 8:37-39.


Elliot Murphy’s favorite verse is Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

He and his wife Janelle have two boys, Hudson and Ezra.

He is Operations Supervisor at Preferred Popcorn.

He graduated from Nebraska Christian in 2010 and earned a BA from Hillsdale where he ran track and led a team Bible Study through Intervarsity Fellowship. He enjoys biking and running.


Scott   Gamblin grew up in Chapman Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Kearney with a degree in elementary education. Scott has been teaching third grade at Chapman Public School since 2006. He lives in Chapman with his wife Elizabeth and their two children Elijah and Amalia. His family’s favorite things are playing games, family movie nights, swimming, and hiking in the small treeline at the back of their house.

Scott enjoys playing board games,  camping, scuba diving, and watching—as well as    playing—ice hockey.  Scott has been helping with the youth at Heartland since 2013. He has had the privilege of seeing God work through many lives of the young adults.


Levi Landrigan and his wife Britta live near Central City and have been extensively involved in youth and camp ministry for many years.

 Levi grew up in a Christian home and prayed to receive salvation at a young age.

 He loves the outdoors and anything active. He loves trying new things and getting to know people.


Tyson Ratliff is a native of Central City and attended Nebraska Christian High School where he met his high school sweetheart. He proposed six months after graduation, and they were married in 2007. Tyson graduated from Motorcycle Mechanic Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, and is now self-employed in the powersports industry while working from home. Sarah homeschools their three children and the kids enjoy visiting their dad in the shop or playing on their acreage south of Central City. Tyson has a deep love for this church body that demonstrated to him at an early age what it means to know grace, to receive it, and give it. Some of his  favorite things to do are teach youth, meet new people, and catch up over a meal. He is an expert question-asker and ice-cream connoisseur.


An Omaha native, Jeremy Vlcek is married to Kristina, and they have three girls: Lydia, Alaina, and Mila. The Vlceks live in Chapman and own Vlcek Gardens, a landscaping company.

Jeremy grew up attending a Catholic school. After his first visit to Heartland, he told Kristina that it looked like a big pep rally. He put his faith in Christ on January 28, 2014 and looks forward to sharing what he’s learned about Jesus with our students.


Doug Langemeier is a native of Mead, Nebraska and came to Christ through the ministry of Fellowship of Christian Athletes while he was in college at UNL.

He and his wife Kristy have four kids: Cameron, Lydia, Grace, and Gabe. Doug works as a Physicians Assistant and holds a Master in PA Studies from University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Doug has been actively involved with FCA since 1996 and enjoys spending time with his family. He loves sports including football, volleyball, skiing, hiking, biking, and water sports.


Sam Krug grew up on a farm near Chapman, where he is now the General Manager of Preferred Popcorn. He and his wife Lauren have one son, Jack.

Sam trusted Christ at age seven and his goal is to live out Philippians 3:8: “all is loss compared to knowing Christ.” He enjoys sharing the gospel with co-workers at Preferred Popcorn and clients and customers locally and around the world.

Sam has degrees from Grace University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and cheering for the Huskers, but mainly spending time with Lauren and Jack.


Travis Purkerson and his wife Ruth have been married for 26 years and have six children. Their two oldest children are married. Ruth and Travis have four children living at home with them: Rebecca, Josie, Clay and   Justin. Travis and Ruth have been working in ministry for over 23 years. The majority of those years have been spent in the ministry of worship. Travis has also enjoyed the ministry of Biblical Counseling for many years. His desire is to see God’s sufficient word personally applied to the lives of those who are struggling, providing hope and direction that brings glory to God.

Travis has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Prairie Bible College and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling from The Master’s University.