Meeting Colton Burpo | Heaven is For Real

Heaven is for Real — by the end of this week — will have sold 5 million copies. For those of you who haven’t heard of it (ie you’ve just emerged from a bomb shelter), it’s the remarkable, true story of a boy’s trip to heaven and back. Colton Burpo, is rushed into emergency surgery at age 3, and miraculously survives and begins talking about his trip to heaven. He describes what his parents were doing (he said he could see them) during his surgery AND about meeting his grandfather and sister, sharing impossible-to-know details about each.

Today, we {Thomas Nelson} had the privilege of meeting and hearing from the Burpo family – Todd, the father and author, Sonja, the mother, and the famous Colton himself.

Todd Burpo, Colton’s Father, didn’t want to write the book. They live in a town with less than 2,000 people and even people knocking on his door telling him to write a book didn’t convince him. He talked about his conversations with God about writing this book and all the excuses he made not to. “I’m boring,” he told God. “Who would want to read about my family?” “I have three jobs and have no time.” “Publication is a grueling uphill battle” and on the list went — but after he exhausted all the excuses, He felt God entrusted him with a story and he felt burdened to share.

Before he wrote the story, he wanted a ‘sure sign’ he was really supposed to write the book. A few weeks later, an agent found him and offered him a deal (first time authors: this never happens). Todd gave in and wrote the story with the help of Lynn Vincent, co-author of Same Kind of Different As Me — and Thomas Nelson published the book.

And it wasn’t just published. Heaven is for Real is still on the New York Times Best Seller List after 37 weeks. His wife spoke about crying when they received the first call Heaven is for Real was on the New York Times bestseller list. 

The Burpo family has been all over the country meeting fans, appearing on different shows and radio programs, and of course signing books. (Look how good Colton’s cursive is!-right). But something the father shared really affected me and showed his true character and humility.

Todd loved meeting all the fans, but he said there were hard parts, too. He choked back tears as he talked about meeting a mother, with a picture of her daughter at the Butterfly Pavilion the same year Colton and his family were there (right when he started to feel sick). Her daughter also suffered from a ruptured appendix and rushed into surgery.

Colton survived. But her daughter died. Why?

Todd told us the hardest part about the book was all the fans he met whose loved one didn’t survive. Why did God spare the life of Colton Burpo, but not their child?

The question is still stirring inside me. I don’t have an answer, but I am thankful for the Burpos courage to share their story with the world — to bring hope to those who only dream of seeing loved ones again.

What a beautiful picture of unanswered questions and a family who is following God’s call and leaving the results to Him.

And, I was thrilled to meet Colton! He is 12 now and is very good at signing in his best cursive handwriting. He rocked his new Nashville cowboy hat and told my coworker, Jodi, of his big plans for the future: he will move to Nashville. He thought the Parthenon replica was SO AWESOME. :) It’s not everyday you meet someone who has been to heaven.

If you missed my previous post Hope in Heaven is for Real, you can check it out here.

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9 Responses to “Meeting Colton Burpo | Heaven is For Real”
  1. Melissa Harper says:


  2. angela says:

    great but i would like to know if there was food and drink in heaven

  3. my name is Marcus O’Darbeh I live in Minnesota I go to Champlin Park High School,I saw a girl in my class name Jessica reading the book Heaven is for real so I ask her what it was about and she told me is A story about a little boy who die and went to Heaven and came back, what I didn’t ask her was is the book real or a made up story? right now I’m reading a book call Death is hard to live with by Janet Bode is a really good book to but when I’m done with it I’ll read Heaven cause she told me is a really good book and I should read it if I have any question I’ll find my answer there I can to read it :)

  4. Enjoyed every bit of your blog article.Much thanks again.

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