Colton Burpo was the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slipped from consciousness and claims to have entered heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear. Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us. Colton’s message is that heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.
After a burst appendix nearly cost 4-year-old Colton Burpo his life in 2003, his parents were thankful just to have him alive and well. But when he opened up about his brush with death a few months later, they were shocked when he described a very vivid trip to heaven, and spoke of matters about which he had no apparent way of knowing.
During an automobile trip, when Sonja Burpo asked him about his memories of being in the hospital, little Colton replied: “Yes, Mommy, I remember — that’s where the angels sang to me.” A sweet answer, to be sure — but then Colton made his parents’ jaws drop when he told them about sitting in Jesus’ lap, watching his parents while he lay seemingly near death, and meeting his great-grandfather.
But most poignantly, Colton described meeting a sibling in heaven — even though he had no way of knowing that his mother had miscarried two years before he was born, since his parents had never told him.
Jesus and John the Baptist
Todd Burpo began telling of his son’s heaven-sent visions from the pulpit of the Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Neb., where he serves as pastor. Word of mouth spread, and the family landed a book deal. The book — “Heaven Is for Real,” written by Todd with co-writer Lynn Vincent — has become a best-seller, with some 1.5 million copies in print since its release in November.