An 11-year-old boy from tiny Imperial, Nebr. is getting a lot of attention these days, thanks to a near-death experience he had as a youngster.
Colton Burpo and his family were on a vacation in Colorado when he came down with an illness. He was misdiagnosed with the flu, but took a turn for the worse when the family returned home - he had a ruptured appendix.
He miraculously pulled through, but that wasn't the notable part - afterward, the young Burpo claimed he went to heaven while on the operating table.
A lot of people claim to "see the light" when they experience a life-threatening situation, but Burpo's experience was different. His father, Todd Burpo, said his son told him things he couldn't have possible known about, including his mother's miscarriage and his great-grandfather, who died before Burpo was born.
"A few angels they came, picked me up and I was looking at Jesus," the younger Burpo told MSNBC. "I was just sitting by the holy spirit and this guy comes up and says, 'are you Todd's son', so I said yes and he said, 'well I'm his grandfather'.' He was very big with huge wings, he had curly hair, big smile and was really nice."
"I remember Jesus, there's streets of gold and a lot of colors. I sat on Jesus' lap and then I just felt safe. God, he is the biggest one in Heaven, he can hold the world in his hands."
He then talked about his sister - his mother, Sonja, miscarried a girl a year before Burpo was born.
'When he told about us about his sister in heaven, it was another one of those holy cow moments, he can't make this up," Todd Burpo said.
"He looked familiar and she started giving me hugs and told me she was glad to have someone from her family up there," Burpo said. "She doesn't have a name though, she said they never gave her one. But she can't wait for her mom and dad to come to Heaven to meet her."
The young Burpo's astonishing tales are giving hope to both believers and non-believers around the world, thanks to the family's book "Heaven is for Real." The book is currently number on the "New York Times" nonfiction bestseller list - and it's been there for weeks. It's sold 1.2 million copies since its release.
Sonja Burpo said she had her doubts about her son's story, but her pastor husband never doubted her son. He said it took a few years before he decided to publish his son's story, but now he's glad he did.
"I am convinced [Colton] was in Heaven," he said.
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