Dr. Jonathan Phiri is the SunPlus Accounting Director for the Adventist Church in the country of Zambia with responsibility for 10 offices with multiple reports nation-wide. He is highly sought after as an Accounting Trainer, Thought Leader, and Preacher which causes him to travel all over that great continent of Africa. He holds a Bachelors in Accounting from Spicer College in Pune, India, a Masters in Business Administration from Mancosa College in Durban, South Africa, and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Phoenix.
We met in May of 2010 when I conducted a Technology Training Seminar at the Office where he worked in Pretoria, South Africa. My wife and our 6 month old son accompanied me on this work trip as it was an opportunity to see her sister Aevia Mighty-Lupondwana who we had not seen since we got married some 4 years earlier. Jo graciously offered to assist us to get around on that trip and we became friends. In September of that same year I was again assigned a project to assist multiple sites in Zambia to setup the Accounting ERP I was supporting and Dr. Phiri, a native Zambian, would be our host from the Division office. It was on this trip that our relationship moved from acquaintances to friends to brothers and would be the first of countless trips we would work on together over the next 3 years. After accepting the job as IT Director for Training and Support for the Adventist Word Church in the Southern Africa Indian Ocean region we became co-workers as he was serving as the SunPlus Support Specialist for the same office. We quickly realized we have a long list of similar interests that bound us together as family, here are a few:
- Sports Cars
- Love for Travel
- Action Movies and TV Shows
- a Unique Sense of Humor
- Spicy Food
- The Series: Shaka Zulu
- Fashion: Suits, Ties, Dress Shoes
- Love for Lively Worship, Music, and Preaching
- Driving Fast
Dr. Phiri, affectionately known as Jo, along with his wife Mutinta were the ones who showed us the ropes when we moved to South Africa. When our shipment from the US arrived in Durban some 3 months after we moved to SA, Jo offered to help me make the 5 hour drive to go and pick it up – the story around this experience is the stuff Movies are made of. We travelled so much together the jokes began running together in fact just a few days ago he sent me a message saying: “…Kirk, my friend you’re truly missed – I have these moments when something happens and I know only you would understand and laugh with me.”
He is a professional.
He is a Businessman.
He is a Entrepreneur.
He is my Bwana.
Let me say to Dr. Phiri the words that mean so much to both us: “Its good to be your friend!”
Before moving back to the United States my family and I had the privilege of spending Christmas with the Phiri’s in Lusaka, Zambia. They had moved back to home to take on his current position and we missed each another dearly. I share this post because Dr. Jonathan Phiri is someone I admire and respect, someone who pushes me to do more, and someone who has had a profound impact on my life.
So what about you, which friends have impacted your life along the way? Join the conversation, leave a comment below!