By Justin Rossow

I was first introduced to Nutella—the German hazelnut/chocolate spread—as an exchange student in 1989. I didn’t love it. I mean, it was OK, but there was a different brand I much preferred. But way back then, you couldn’t get Nutella in the States, and peanut butter was an extremely rare commodity over there.

So I have vivid memories of smuggling (OK, not really) pounds and pounds of Nutella out of Germany and pounds and pounds of Jiff Extra Creamy back in—contraband for breakfast.

nutella_shelfEvery once in a while I will walk past a shelf in a local grocery store and see my old friend Nutella staring back at me as if he belonged there—and I suppose now he does, though it still gives me a small jolt of culture shock to see what used to be a rare and foreign commodity there among the commonplace.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I heard about a team of researchers who had lived on a lava field for several months as a way of testing what astronauts might possibly eat if they ever got to Mars. The menu they arrived at included dried fruits, Spam, and—you guessed it—a certain hazelnut spread. Nutella had not only made it to America, it had its sights set on Mars!!

That realization made the world, and even the universe, seem awfully small.  And it made me think of the Indian couple who just moved in next door, and the Middle Eastern man who two weeks ago bought a grocery store just blocks from my house, and any number of people who come to visit St. Luke any given weekend from all over the word.

I was scheduled to go on an international short-term mission trip last November with MOST Ministries. I still want to go, not only to serve the people in need, but to train and retrain my heart to be open to people who look and talk and think and eat and live differently than I do. Because they are the people in my neighborhood, and grocery store, and even church.

I figure, if Nutella can make it to Mars, I better be ready to share the hope that is in me right here in Ypsilanti; you never know who might show up!


To read more about the study click here.

Read Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis to learn more about sharing Jesus with those who are not just like you.

To find a recipe for mini-Nutella Mars Cheesecakes click here.