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Heaven is for Real

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The Advocate

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Reviewed by Marshall Hughes

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"...anybody with a heart, and especially anyone with a heart for the guilelessness of small children, will enjoy reading about Colton and his memories of his trip to heaven."

Three-year-old Colton Burpo of Imperial, Nebraska, and Biblical characters Enoch and Elijah would seem to have almost nothing in common. They were born in pretty much different worlds, thousands of miles and several millennia apart. However, they all have one thing in common; they all went to heaven and returned to earth.

Hard to believe for some, perhaps, but Colton’s experiences and clear memories of the time he went to heaven and back as written in “Heaven is for Real” are sure to make the reader ponder, at least those with open minds.

In 2003 little Colton suffered a burst appendix, which was misdiagnosed by the small-town doctor where Colton’s family was living. For five days his body filled up with its own poison while Colton advanced towards death.

By the time he was taken to a larger, better equipped hospital there seemed to be virtually no chance of recovery. But, after two operations and fervent prayer from the congregation of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, where his father was pastor, Colton miraculously recovered.

While he never clinically died, Colton was taken to heaven for a short time where, he later said, he sat in Jesus’ lap. He also met God, lots of children, some of his deceased relatives and one other person you’ll be shocked to read is in heaven.

Some months after Colton recovered, he started very confidently and matter-of-factly telling his parents of his trip to heaven. Of course, being so young, he didn’t understand what, for lack of better expression, an unusual experience he had had.

Without giving away too many of the surprising details of this New York Times #1 Bestseller, Colton knew of things that really couldn’t be explained any other way than having been to heaven. He knew what his great grandfather looked like as a young man, even though he had never seen a picture of him, he knew a family secret that had been kept from him, and he knew a lot more things, things which are detailed in the Bible that no three-year-old could possibly know.

Since Colton’s book deals with Christianity in general and heaven in specific, cynics will scorn the book, as they are wont to do with most anything spiritual, but anybody with a heart, and especially anyone with a heart for the guilelessness of small children, will enjoy reading about Colton and his memories of his trip to heaven. It’s a good book to have friends read, and then have discussions about what the book says. Actually, it’s a great book for that.

One day, Colton says with surety, he will see his family in heaven. Who knows, maybe he’ll even run into Enoch and Elijah.

Marshall HughesMarshall Hughes is a former sports writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. For most of the past 22 years he has taught English in Japan. He has taught at the university level in America, Japan and China. Among his hobbies are sports, traveling and photography. He has been to 41 countries and is always hoping to go somewhere new. He is an award-winning photographer in both Japan and America. His bi-lines include The Washington Post, The Pacific Daily News (Guam), The Contra Costa Times and several sports publications.