Mark Gobrail: Listening to God’s Call

by Nathan Foster

Mark Gobrail ’22 took a leap of faith and answered God’s call to travel across the globe to attend graduate school, immigrating to the U.S. from Cairo, Egypt in August 2021 to complete his Master of Science in Organizational Psychology degree at Azusa Pacific University. “I wanted to pursue a degree at a university that would share my Christian values and enhance my professional career in HR,” he said.

A graduate of Ain Shams University in Cairo with a degree in business, management, and marketing, Gobrail began his foray in the corporate world working in human resources at Deloitte, one of the big four accounting firms. “I learned a lot working there. I could see how my faith integrated with all my decisions at work,” he said. “It enabled me to keep my integrity while working remotely during the pandemic. My managers saw a difference in my performance because of my honest work ethic.”

Although he grew up in a Christian household and regularly attended church as a child, Gobrail came to know Christ when he was 16 years old. He was praying in his room one day and cried out to God, “I’ve been practicing Christianity for a long time, but I don’t have a relationship with You. Please reveal Yourself to me.” At that moment, he felt God’s presence for the first time. “From that day on, I’ve grown in my personal relationship with God.”

Gobrail said that sharing his Christian testimony in a predominantly Islamic country was challenging. “I have a lot of Muslim friends, and I have to be very careful with my words,” he said. “I’ve lost some friendships because of sharing my faith. I can point them to the Gospel, but they need to take that step. I can only show them the way.”

Attending APU, Gobrail is able to contribute to his program in meaningful ways, incorporating his unique cultural and professional experiences into class discussions and assignments. “I’ve loved learning from professors who truly integrate their faith with the course material,” he said. “In my classes, we’ve talked a lot about sharing the truth in a graceful, meaningful, loving way.”

Recognizing the benefits of Gobrail’s international perspective on the organizational psychology field, his professor David Dunaetz, PhD encouraged his scholarship. Gobrail recently published an article entitled, “Around the World in Two Strategies: Maintaining a Successful Performance Management System in Cross-Cultural Situations” in Training Industry Magazine. “I’m very grateful for my professor’s support. I would never have thought about approaching a magazine and asking them to publish a paper that I wrote without his encouragement.” The article explores the different steps organizations can take to help their employees from different cultural backgrounds thrive instead of seeking promotions based on numbers only. “So far, I’ve gotten good feedback from colleagues and friends, and I plan on writing more in the future. English is my second language, so it's very difficult to find the words for what I want to express, but I work on improving my writing consistently.”

As Gobrail completes his degree and looks to the future, he draws inspiration from the Bible, especially from his favorite verse: Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (NKJV). “This Scripture shows how compassionate God is, how much he loves us,” he said. Gobrail wants to go into full-time ministry someday, trusting in the Lord and following His plan whenever He calls him.

Nathan Foster is the public relations manager in the Office of Strategic Communication and Engagement.