Our Management Team
LIBERTY PEOPLE is the people and works of LIBERTY FOR THE NATIONS — a Word and Deed ministry founded in 1991 by Pastor Steve and Helen Blake. Based in Australia in the Hunter Valley, the ministry’s full-time management team consists of Steve, Helen, and their sons Jonathan and Matthew (Australia), and Pastor John and Michelle Tuprick (Vanuatu). Many friends and partners of the ministry who share their time, ideas, skills and finances together form the much larger team!
Liberty People is a network of friends who partner together to bring God’s Kingdom into the lives of individuals and communities.
Brought up in a Christian family in country Victoria (Australia), Steve experienced the call of God on his life at an early age. In his late teens, Steve was popular in his region as an anointed singer-guitarist and church youth leader. In his early 20’s, while studying at Bible College, he met his future wife, Helen. From 1977 until 2002, Steve preached and led youth ministries and musical outreaches together with Helen, and started several churches in Victoria and New South Wales. In the late ’80’s, while leading a thriving church in the Hunter Valley, Steve led his first church mission team overseas. God’s call to serious overseas mission involvement grew, and eventually led to the founding of Liberty for the Nations (now Liberty People), in April 1991.
Today, Steve regularly ministers overseas, mainly in the Pacific, Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean. At home in Australia, his apostolic and preaching gifts serve local churches and church leadership teams, and his engineering and building skills outwork themselves in the designing and planning of building projects in Vanuatu and the Philippines. Visit our Blog for written and recorded teachings by Steve.
Brought up in Papua New Guinea, Helen was the child of missionary aviation parents. Her Secondary School years were spent in Queensland (Australia) at boarding school, where her primary interest was learning classical music on piano and organ. In her late teens while training to be a nurse, she became very involved in outreach to young drug addicts and in street evangelism. Sensing God’s call all the while to overseas mission, after graduating as an RN she enrolled at the same Bible College as Steve in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales.
Today, Helen manages and works in the Australia offices of Liberty People, and oversees various initiatives and programs in other countries. Helen also enjoys writing, and has authored a short book ‘Liberty Years – Through My Eyes’, a collection of inspiring stories about being Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. To download the eBook in PDF format, click below:
Jon began working full-time with his parents in 2000, when he moved to Vanuatu to serve in the remote north of Tanna Island. In 2001, he married Abigail, and together they led the NorthGate project. In 2005, Jon and Abi moved back to Vila and served as field managers. In January 2011, Jon returned to Australia with his young family.
Since 2011, Jon has performed IT and technical aspects of the work, and managed overseas projects including school buildings in Vanuatu and disaster relief building projects in the Philippines (Haiyan) and in Vanuatu (Pam). Jon also serves as the Manager of Community Christian Schools Vanuatu, and travels regularly to Vanuatu for oversight, building work, and to assist Australian teams who visit. He initiated Life Changer events in Vanuatu in 2014, and leads the creative, technical and logistical aspects of the events.
Matt has felt a strong ministry calling since a young age, serving in many worship, youth and young adult ministries since his early teens. After a decade-long career in IT (based in Melbourne), Matt followed a strong Godly prompting to leave his vocation and serve with Liberty People full-time from the start of 2016, leading himself and his wife Priscilla to move interstate to Newcastle, NSW.
Today, Matt’s role at Liberty People involves web and social communications, pastoral care of our overseas leaders, initiating events and relationships to build our future, and bringing prayer to the forefront of our work. His technical background is a great addition to the team, and his gifts serve him well in his role. Matt is also a keen theology student at Ridley Theological College. He posts his thoughts on God and the Bible at his personal blog below:
Maxie Tuprick (Pastor John) was brought up in Tanna Island in a Christian family. His father pastored churches in different parts of the island and led his denomination’s work in the Tafea island group. In 1991, the family relocated to Loanpakel Bay in the remote north of Tanna, to establish a Christian outreach and community development. From then, their lives and vision would be joined with Steve and Helen’s. In his early twenties, after studying at Bible College in Fiji, John joined the leadership team of Liberty at NorthGate in Loanpakel Bay. He taught in the new Bible College, led aid distribution, and preached in churches in the area.
Today, John is the Field Representative of Liberty People in Vanuatu. Based in Port Vila with his young family at the Port Vila Community Christian School, he leads the teams in Tanna and Efate. John liaises regularly between Vanuatu and Australia, sharing news of progress and needs with Jon Blake. He re-visits Tanna Island frequently for oversight, evangelism and pastoral care.
Michelle Tuprick was brought up in Tanna Island in a Christian family, the daughter of a pastor. In her late teens and early twenties, she worked as the receptionist at a resort in Tanna for 6 years. She married Pastor Maxie in 2009, and joined the Liberty for the Nations Vanuatu and Community Christian Schools Vanuatu management and spiritual oversight team in 2010.
Today, Michelle works with her husband as Field Representative of Liberty People in Vanuatu. She manages and works in the Liberty and school offices in Port Vila, overseeing the finances and community care. She manages the logistics of receiving visiting teams and distributing the aid Liberty People sends from Australia, and works in the school overseeing the nutrition and health and hygiene programs. Michelle liaises regularly between Vanuatu and Australia.
Toapa Tuprick is an elder brother to Pastor John (Maxie). From 1991, Toaba has worked on the Liberty team in maintenance management and community assistance. During those years, he has regularly learned and mastered new machinery, building and farming skills.
Today, Toapa works in the building projects workshop, managing the community housing and water wells construction work and other LifeChanger Community Assistance projects. His Godly character, skills and capable management make him a highly valued member of our Vanuatu team.