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Father and Son Remember Heavenly Experience

While Todd Burpo thought his son was dying, Colton was actually experiencing heaven. Hear their first-hand account of the experience. Read Transcript


Gordon: TODAY, COLTON

BURPO IS 13 YEARS OLD AND

HE GOES TO SCHOOL AND PLAYS

SPORTS.

BUT UNLIKE HIS PEERS, HE HAS

A STORY THAT WAS HEARD

AROUND THE WORLD.

A STORY THAT BEGAN 10 YEARS

AGO, WHEN HE ALMOST DIED.

Reporter: LOOKING AT

COLTON NOW, YOU WOULD NEVER

GUESS THAT HE ALMOST DIED IN

2003.

HIS FATHER, TODD, TELLS

ABOUT COLTON'S NEAR-DEATH

EXPERIENCE IN THE "NEW YORK

TIMES" BEST-SELLING BOOK,

"HEAVEN IS FOR REAL."

HE STARTED THROWING UP

INTO THE TOILET.

AS FIRST, WE'RE LIKE, OKAY,

HE HAS THE STOMACH FLU, THE

DOCTOR SAID IT WAS GOING

AROUND.

Reporter: AS DAYS

PASSED, COLTON'S CONDITION

ONLY GOT WORSE.

THEN HIS DOCTOR DISCOVERED

HIS APPENDIX HAD BURST AND

INFECTION WAS SPREADING

THROUGHOUT HIS BODY.

TIME WAS RUNNING OUT.

SOMEONE CAME TO US AND

STARTED TALKING TO US, THAT

WE'VE GOT TO HAVE SURGERY ON

YOUR KID.

IT WAS TOUGH.

SEEING YOUR BOY BE LIFELESS,

WHEN HE WAS A VERY VIBRANT

CHILD.

AND IT WAS AT THAT MOMENT

THAT WE WERE LOOKING AT EACH

OTHER, AND I REMEMBER MY

WIFE HOLDING COLTON IN THE

HALLWAY, AND HE WAS NOT EVEN

MOVING.

WE WENT TO THE SURGERY PREP

AREA, AND I REMEMBER THEM

HAULING HIM AWAY, AND HIM

YELLING, DADDY, DON'T LET

THEM TAKE ME.

DADDY, DON'T LET THEM TAKE

ME.

Gordon: FOR THE REST OF

THIS STORY, JOINING US IS

THE BURPO FAMILY.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

Gordon: COLTON, WHEN

DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE REALLY

SORT OF IN TROUBLE.

WAS IT WHEN YOU WERE GETTING

WHEELED AWAY FROM YOUR DAD?

WELL, I JUST DIDN'T

LIKE -- I'M NOT SURE WHEN I

WAS ACTUALLY IN TROUBLE.

I JUST DIDN'T LIKE GETTING

POKED WITH NEEDLES.

Gordon: I DON'T,

EITHER.

NO.

THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING.

Gordon: YOU SAY ANGELS

AND JESUS CAME TO YOU AND

TOOK YOU TO HEAVEN.

DID THEY JUST SHOW UP IN THE

OPERATING ROOM?

UM, ACTUALLY, JESUS

SHOWED UP FIRST, AND HE

HELPED CALM ME DOWN BECAUSE

I WAS SCARED AT FIRST.

I WASN'T SURE WHAT WAS

HAPPENING.

AND THEN HE HAD THE ANGELS

SING TO ME, AND THAT CALMED

ME DOWN.

Gordon: WHAT DID THEY

SING?

WELL, THEY SANG "JESUS

LOVE ME," AND "JOSHUA FOUGHT

THE BATTLE OF JERICHO," AND

THOSE WERE MY FAVORITE SONGS

AT THE TIME.

Gordon: SO THEY SANG TO

YOU SONGS YOU HAD LEARNED IN

CHURCH?

YES.

Gordon: I FIND THAT

PRETTY INCREDIBLE.

YES.

Gordon: AND THAT SEEMED

TO BE A RECURRING THEME IN

THIS WHOLE JOURNEY, HOW MUCH

BOTH JESUS, GOD THE FATHER,

TRIED TO CALM YOU, AND

REASSURE YOU THAT EVERYTHING

WAS OKAY.

WHEN YOU WENT TO THE THRONE

ROOM, BECAUSE THAT WAS THE

NEXT SPOT, WHAT DID GOD DO

FOR YOU?

WELL, GOD, HE WAS JUST

THERE.

HE WAS JUST A BEING THAT

RADIATED LOVE.

AND EVEN THOUGH HE IS SO

BIG, YOU'RE NOT SCARED OF

HIM BECAUSE HE LOVED YOU SO

MUCH.

WHAT HE DID IS HE HELPED

MAKE HEAVEN BE A HAPPY

PLACE.

[LAUGHTER]

Gordon: THAT'S A GOOD

WAY TO PUT IT.

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST

ABOUT SEEING JESUS?

WELL, I PROBABLY REMEMBER

THAT I SPENT A LOT OF TIME

WITH HIM.

THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME I

WAS IN HEAVEN, I WAS WITH

JESUS.

Gordon: WHAT DO YOU

REMEMBER ABOUT HIS EYES?

WELL, HIS EYES, THEY WERE

UNLIKE ANY OTHER THAT I'VE

SEEN.

THEY WERE JUST SPARKLING.

Gordon: WHAT DO YOU

MEAN LIKE THAT, LIKE LIGHT

COMING OUT OF THEM?

WELL, IT'S HARD TO

DESCRIBE, BUT THERE'S NO

WORDS THAT WE HAVE THAT CAN

DESCRIBE JUST HOW BEAUTIFUL

THIS EYES

ARE.

Gordon: WHEN YOU LEFT

THE HOSPITAL, WHAT DID YOU

SEE AS YOU WERE LEAVING?

WHEN I LEFT THE HOSPITAL,

THE ANGELS, THEY -- ONE OF

THEM TOOK ME AND FLEW ME UP

TO HEAVEN, BUT I COULD SEE

DOWN.

AND I COULD SEE MY DAD AND

MY MOM, AND THEY WERE BOTH

IN SEPARATE ROOMS, HAVING

SEPARATE CONVERSATIONS.

Gordon: WITH WHO?

WELL, THEY WERE BOTH

PRAYING TO GOD, MAKING SURE

I WOULD COME OUT OF THE

OPERATION.

Gordon: ALL RIGHT.

SONYA, YOU'RE SORT OF THE

UNTOLD STORY, THE FIRST TIME

IN THE BOOK, AND NOW YOU'RE

COMING OUT WITH -- WHAT WERE

YOU PRAYING AT THAT MOMENT

THAT HE WAS IN THE OPERATING

ROOM?

THAT HE WOULD COME BACK.

WE KNEW HE WAS VERY, VERY

SICK.

AND I WAS ON MY CELL PHONE,

TRYING TO GET HIM ON EVERY

PRAYER CHAIN POSSIBLE,

BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE

POWER OF PRAYER.

AND I KNEW WE WERE AT A

POINT WHERE WE NEEDED TO

SOUND THE ALARM AND GET AS

MANY PEOPLE PRAYING.

Gordon: WHAT WAS GOING

ON TO YOU WHEN THE DOCTOR

WAS TALKING ABOUT, HOW CAN

WE GET HIM TO ANOTHER

MEDICAL FACILITY?

AND THIS IS HAPPENING, AND

YOU'RE WONDERING, AM I

GETTING READY TO LOSE MY

CHILD?

IT WAS HARD TO SEE HIM AT

THAT POINT.

BECAUSE HE WAS A VERY

VIBRANT BOY, AND JUST TO SEE

HIM LAY THERE AND NOT

RESPOND TO TOYS, FRIENDS,

FOOD -- ANYTHING HE WOULD

NORMALLY RESPOND TO, AND

JUST TO SEE YOUR BOY LIKE

THAT WAS VERY DEVASTATING.

BUT YOU KNEW YOU HAD TO MAKE

SOME DECISIONS AND DO SOME

THINGS, AND SO YOU HAD TO

PUT YOUR EMOTIONS ASIDE AND

THINK, HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS

HAPPEN, AND PRAY.

Gordon: AT WHAT POINT

MADE YOU SAY, I'VE GOT TO

PUT THINGS IN MOTION AND

I'VE GOT TO PUT HIM ON

PRAYER CHAINS.

FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE, WHEN

THESE OVERWHELMING EVENTS

HAPPEN, THERE IS A TENDENCY

TO JUST WANT TO SHUT DOWN.

BUT YOU GOT UP AND GOT INTO

ACTION.

WHY?

YEAH, YOU CAN SHUT DOWN,

BUT TODD AND I BOTH AGREE HE

WASN'T GONE YET, SO WE STILL

HAD TIME.

AND TIME WAS ON OUR SIDE.

AND I COME FROM A PASTOR'S

FAMILY, SO I WAS, OF COURSE,

CALLING MY DAD AND CALLING

MY BROTHER AND CALLING EVERY

PRAYER CHAIN WE COULD PUT

HIM ON AND JUST SOUND THE

ALARM AND GET AS MANY

PEOPLE.

BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WHEN ONE

OR TWO GATHER TOGETHER -- I

WANTED MORE THAN THAT

BECAUSE WE KNEW WE WERE

DESPERATE.

Gordon: YOU WANTED

THOUSANDS.

NOT JUST ONE OR TWO.

YES.

Gordon: TODD, WHAT WAS

YOUR PRAYER?

WHAT WERE YOU PRAYING AT

THIS TIME?

I WAS DESPERATE.

FOR ME, HAVING THE ROLE OF

PASTOR, DAD, HUSBAND, I

DIDN'T WANT MY BOY TO KNOW

HOW AFRAID I WAS, AND I

WANTED TO BE STRONG FOR MY

WIFE.

BUT EVERYTHING INSIDE ME AT

THAT MOMENT, ESPECIALLY

WHEN HIM SCREAMING FOR ME TO

PROTECT HIM AND I COULDN'T

DO ANYTHING, I WAS LOOKING

FOR A PLACE TO HIDE.

WHEN I PRAYED IN THAT ROOM,

IT WASN'T PASTORAL.

I WAS MAD AND UPSET.

THE ONLY THING I COULD THINK

OF IS WHEN DAVID WAS

PLEADING FOR THE LIFE OF HIS

SON.

MY SON IS NOT GONE YET, AND

I NEED YOU NOW.

I THINK IT IS ONE OF THE

MOST HONEST PRAYERS IN MY

LIFE.

COLTON SAID LATER, THE

REASON JESUS SENT ME BACK IS

BECAUSE HE WAS ANSWERING

YOUR PRAYER.

AND PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME,

WHY DID GOD ANSWER YOUR

PRAYER?

AND ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT IS

THE MOST HONEST PRAYER AND

MY LIFE.

THERE WAS NO ROLE PLAYING.

I WAS JUST A DAD THAT WAS

DESPERATE.

I THINK WHEN WE GET IN

CIRCUMSTANCES IN CRISIS, WE

ALL ARE GOING TO RUN.

BUT ARE WE GOING TO RUN TO

CHRIST OR AWAY.

Gordon: MY DAUGHTER

WENT THROUGH SURGERY, AND IT

WASN'T AS DRAMATIC AS WHAT

HAPPENED TO YOU, BUT IT

PROBABLY WAS THE HARDEST

THING, TO SEE HER ROLLED

AWAY ON A GURNEY AND WONDER,

IS SHE GOING TO COME BACK.

AND WHERE DO YOU GO WITH

THAT?

AND IT IS NOT TIME FOR A

POLISHED PRAYER.

YOU'RE NOT IN PASTOR MODE.

NO, NOT AT ALL.

Consuelo:

Gordon: YOU'RE IN, GOD,

I NEED YOU NOW AND I NEED

YOU TO SHOW UP NOW.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE.

JESUS WASN'T THE ONLY PERSON

COLTON MET IN HEAVEN.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE.

AND WE'RE GOING TO PROVE TO

YOU THIS STORY IS TRUE

BECAUSE HE LEARNED SOME

THINGS IN HEAVEN THAT HE

DIDN'T KNOW ON EARTH.

Gordon: LESS THAN TWO

HOURS AFTER COLTON WAS

WHEELED AWAY FOR SURGERY, HE

WAS AWAKE AND ALIVE.

AT THAT MOMENT, COLTON TOLD

HIS FATHER THAT HE ALMOST

DIED.

FOUR MONTHS LATER, COLTON

TOLD HIS FATHER THE REST OF

THE STORY.

AND WE'RE GOING TO GET THE

REST OF THE STORY.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING

THAT GOT YOU GOING, TODD,

THAT SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT

HAPPENED?

WELL, WHEN WE WERE

DRIVING BACK TO NORTH PLATT,

WE FINALLY HAD MAYBE HEALED

FROM THE EXPERIENCE ENOUGH

TO KIND OF JOKE ABOUT IT.

WE SAID, COLTON, DO YOU WANT

TO GO BACK TO THE HOSPITAL.

AND HE SAID, NO, SEND

CASSIE.

AND WE EXPECTED THAT.

BUT HE SAID, DAD, WHEN I WAS

THERE, THE ANGELS SANG TO

ME.

ANGELS ARE NOT SOMETHING WE

DISCUSSED VERY OFTEN.

WE HAVE BIBLE STORIES IN

CHURCH, READ BIBLE LESSONS,

WE TALK ABOUT JESUS ALL THE

TIME, BUT ANGELS, THAT

TOTALLY WAS A RARELY TALKED

ABOUT SUBJECT.

YOU TALK ABOUT ANGELS MAYBE

AT CHRISTMASTIME.

THE NATIVITY STORY.

BUT WHEN HE SAID THEY SANG

TO HIM AND HE WAS VERY

DEFINITE, THAT'S WHAT

CAPTURED OUR ATTENTION.

WE'RE LIKE, WHAT DID WE

MISS.

HE SAID, DAD, JESUS HAD THE

ANGELS SING TO ME.

AND I ASKED HIM, WHERE WAS

JESUS?

AND HE SAID, DAD, I WAS

SITTING ON HIS LAP.

AND I WAS SHOCKED.

AND I SAID, HOW DO YOU KNOW

THAT?

HE SAID, DAD, I COULD SEE

YOU.

HE TALKED TO ME ABOUT ME

BEING IN THAT ROOM ALL BY

MYSELF.

MY WIFE AT THAT MOMENT

DIDN'T KNOW WHERE I WAS.

I HAD SLIPPED AWAY, AND WHEN

I CAME BACK TO HER AND

BROUGHT MY STUFF BACK, SHE

WAS MAD AT ME.

SHE WAS, LIKE, WHERE HAVE

YOU BEEN.

YOU HAVEN'T BEEN AROUND ME.

HER CELL PHONE BATTERY WAS

ABOUT AT.

CAN I USE FOR YOUR PHONE.

AND YOU DON'T BRAG ABOUT

THAT, AND THEN HERE IS MY

SON, I SAW YOU.

Gordon: AND IT WAS THIS

DESPERATE PRAYER.

WHEN DID YOU FIGURE OUT THIS

WASN'T JUST JESUS COMING

INTO THE HOSPITAL ROOM?

IT WAS ABOUT A WEEK

LATER.

WE WENT TO THE TRIP TO

SONYA'S BROTHER'S HOUSE.

AND WE COME BACK, AND I

WANTED TO GO THERE BECAUSE

WHEN HE SAID HE SAW JESUS,

IT WAS JUST BURNING IN MY

MIND, WHAT DID HE LOOK

LIKE.

SO I STARTED ASKING SOME

QUESTIONS.

AND, AGAIN, COLTON IS A

TYPICAL BOY, SOMETIMES HE

WANTS TO TALK, AND SOMETIMES

HE WANTS TO PLAY.

BUT HE JUST TOOK OVER.

I SAID, REMEMBER YOU SAW

JESUS, AND HE SAID YES.

AND HE SAID, DAD, DID YOU

KNOW JESUS' COUSINS

BAPTIZED?

, ANAND I GO YEAH.

AND THEN HE GOES, DO YOU

KNOW JESUS HAS A HORSE.

ALL OF A SUDDEN THIS

CONVERSATION TOOK OFF.

AND ALL OF A SUDDEN I SAID,

WAIT A MINUTE, YOU SAID YOU

WERE IN THE HOSPITAL WITH

JESUS.

AND I SAID, DID YOU GO TO

HEAVEN?

AND HE WAS, LIKE, OH, YEAH,

I DID.

Gordon: I IMAGINE A

WHOLE BUNCH OF BIBLICAL

PASSAGES STARTED POPPING

INTO YOUR MIND WITH EACH ONE

OF HIS STATEMENTS.

HOW DID HE KNOW THAT?

EXACTLY. AND HE WOULD

CONFIRM STUFF.

BEING A PASTOR AND KNOWING

WHAT WAS IN THE BIBLE, AND

KNOWING WHAT MY PRE-SCHOOL

CURRICULUM TEACHES, AND HOW

HE WAS GOING SO MUCH FURTHER

BEYOND THAT.

YOU'RE LIKE, THIS DIDN'T

COME FROM HOME.

THIS DIDN'T COME FROM

CHURCH.

IT OBVIOUSLY CAME FROM

SOMETHING HE EXPERIENCED.

Gordon: COLTON,

SOMETHING ELSE CAME, WHERE

YOU MET A SISTER YOU HAD

NEVER MET BEFORE.

TELL US ABOUT THAT.

SHE ACTUALLY MET ME AT

THE GATES OF HEAVEN.

SHE RAN OUT AND HUGGED ME.

AT FIRST, I WAS, LIKE, WHO

ARE YOU.

AND THEN SHE TOLD ME WHO SHE

WAS.

BUT BACK WHEN I WAS THREE, I

DIDN'T LIKE HUGS.

SO --

Gordon: DO YOU LIKE

HUGS TODAY?

UM, KIND OF GROWING INTO

IT MORE, BUT --

Gordon: NOT SO MUCH.

SHE COMES OUT AND HUGS YOU.

HOW DID YOU KNOW IT WAS YOUR

SISTER?

ACTUALLY, SHE IS THE ONE

THAT TOLD ME WHO SHE WAS.

I HAD NO IDEA WHO SHE WAS.

Gordon: WHO ELSE DID

YOU MEET?

I MET MY GREAT GRANDPA,

POP.

AND THEN I ALSO MET KING

DAVID, SAMPSON, THE APOSTLES

PETER AND JOHN AND MARY.

Gordon: WOW, YOU GOT

1-877- QUITE A TOUR.

HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?

I'M NOT TOO SURE HOW

LONG, BUT WHEN I CAME BACK

TO EARTH, I TOLD MY DAD I

WAS UP THERE FOR THREE

MINUTES.

THERE WAS NO WAY I COULD

HAVE SAW ALL OF THAT IN

THREE MINUTES.

Gordon: SO TIME SORT OF

CHANGES.

THE TIME THAT IS PASSING

HERE IN A HOSPITAL ROOM IS

DIFFERENT THAN THE TIME THAT

IS PASSING IN HEAVEN?

YEAH.

Gordon: SONYA, LET ME

ASK YOU, WHO IS THIS

SISTER?

BETWEEN CASSIE AND

COLTON, WE MISCARRIED A

BABY.

WE DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A

DAUGHTER.

WE HADN'T TOLD THE KIDS

BECAUSE HOW DO YOU TELL KIDS

THIS YOUNG YOU HAD A

MISCARRIAGE.

AND SO WHEN HE TOLD US HE

HAD TWO SISTERS, IT GAVE US

SUCH A HEALING -- WE THOUGHT

WE HAD GOTTEN OVER IT, BUT

WE STILL HAD THAT HURT.

THIS IS PROVIDING SOME

HEALING AND SHE'S OKAY, AND

IT IS A SHE.

Gordon: I'M NOT SURE IT

IS ANYTHING YOU GET OVER.

MY MOTHER MISCARRIED BEFORE

ME.

AND THEY HAD GOTTEN TO THE

POINT WHERE THEY HAD NAMED

THE BABY.

AND CURIOUSLY, IF THERE

HADN'T BEEN A MISCARRIAGE, I

WOULDN'T BE HERE.

SO I'M REALLY ENCOURAGED

THAT I'M GOING TO MEET JAMES

GORDON ONE DAY.

AT THE GATE.

Gordon: AT THE GATE.

HE IS GOING TO COME OUT AND

GIVE ME A HUG, WHICH IS

REALLY NICE.

WHAT DID POP LOOK LIKE?

WELL, POP, WHEN I SAW

HIM, HE WAS A YOUNG MAN.

IN HIS LATE 20s, EARLY

30s.

THAT'S WHAT EVERYBODY LOOKS

LIKE IN HEAVEN.

Gordon: I'M LIKING IT.

[LAUGHTER]

SO YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR

YOUNG SELF.

Gordon: BUT YOU MET,

CHILDREN, TOO?

YES.

Gordon: ARE THEY GOING

TO GROW OLDER?

YES.

IF YOU WERE MISCARRIED OR

DIED AS A KID, YOU WILL

STILL GROW TO YOUR PRIME,

BUT ONCE YOU HIT YOUR LATE

20s, EARLY 30s, YOU STOP

AND YOU STAY AT THAT AGE.

Gordon: TODD, HOW DID

YOU KNOW HE ACTUALLY MET

POP?

I WOULD TAKE POP -- WHEN

I WAS A LITTLE KID, WE WERE

SO CLOSE.

HE STARTED TELLING ME ABOUT

THINGS I DID WITH POP WHEN I

WAS A KID, AND HOW NICE POP

WAS.

WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT THINGS

I DID WITH POP, I SAID, HOW

DO YOU KNOW?

AND HE SAID POP TOLD ME.

HE COULDN'T RECOGNIZE HIM AS

THE POP I KNEW AT 61.

IT FINALLY DAWNED ON ME WITH

THE DESCRIPTIONS HE GAVE US

OF HIS SISTER, HOW SHE

LOOKED LIKE CASSIE, BUT NOT

QUITE AS BIG.

THAT'S WHAT I WOULD EXPECT

HER TO LOOK LIKE THIS SIDE

OF HEAVEN, BUT WITH WINGS.

I SAID, DO YOU HAPPEN TO

HAVE A PICTURE OF POP A A

YOUNG MAN -- I ASKED MY MOM,

AND SHE HAD GIVEN ME ONE.

THIS PICTURE WAS ONE THAT

WAS PUT UP IN A CLOSET

BEFORE COLTON WAS BORN.

I SAID, COLTON TAKE A LOOK

AT THIS.

IT IS A FAMILY PICTURE.

WITHOUT EVEN HESITATING,

COLTON GOES, HEY, HOW DID

YOU GET A PICTURE OF POP.

THERE IS NO DRUGS, NO

TEACHER, NOTHING THAT COULD

HAVE SPURRED THAT MEMORY.

THE ONLY THING THAT COULD

HAVE ANSWERED IT IS THAT HE

SAW HIM.

Gordon: IT IS AN

INCREDIBLE STORY.

I COULD TALK A LONG TIME.

BUT WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

IF YOU WANT MORE, THERE ARE

WONDERFUL BOOKS AVAILABLE

WHERE YOU CAN GET THE

COMPLETE STORY.

TODD BURBEAU, "HEAVEN IS FOR

REAL," AND THERE IS A

FOLLOWUP, "HEAVEN CHANGES

EVERYTHING," AND IT IS

SONYA'S STORY.

AND THEY SHARE THEIR STORY

WITH US ON OUR WEBSITE.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GO TO

CBN.COM.

AND WHILE THERE, WE HAVE A

SPECIAL BEHIND-THE-SCENES

INTERVIEW WITH THEM.

YOU CAN ALWAYS WATCHED ON

THEM BY CLICKING ON THE LINK

CALLED "IN THE GREEN ROOM."

COLTON, SONYA, TODD, THANK

YOU FOR YOUR STORY.

GOD BLESS YOU.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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