At an early age, Barbara experienced what she referred to as – supernatural phenomenon. As a teenager she kept a diary in which she documented several of her disturbing nightmares. Barbara ultimately incorporated her visions into several of her writings.
In her writings, she loves to evoke a false sense of security and expectations - leading the reader into a world of the unknown.
I have read books revealing ones personal experiences of the afterlife – traveling through tunnels of bright light, and seeing the vision of a higher power. ‘Heaven is for Real’ is unique in that the perspective of this story is expressed through the eyes of a small child (barely three-years-old at the time) to his parents. This young child conveys a message of experiencing a divine miracle with conviction and indisputable detail.
Co-author, father, and narrator, Todd Burpo, begins the story by revealing seven months of bad luck involving his own personal struggles, his narrow escape with cancer, and several surgeries for a shattered leg. A pastor of his own church, he also served as a volunteer firefighter and high school wrestling coach. He relied heavily on his strong faith through all of his trials of sickness, but still at certain times he questioned, why me? Over a year later, just when things seemed to be looking up – tragedy would strike again.
In early 2003, he decided to turn a scheduled church board-meeting trip into a much-needed family vacation. He, his wife Sonja, and their two young children, daughter Cassie, and three-year-old son Colton, set out on a journey just outside of Denver. Two days before the trip, Colton took ill with a fever and stomachache. A trip to their family doctor revealed that a stomach flue was going around town, and his symptoms fit the criteria. After much prayer that their son would feel well enough to make the trip – their prayers were answered.
A short while into the trip, after a wonderful day at the Butterfly Pavilion, three-year-old Colton fell ill again. Realizing their son’s condition was worsening they rushed Colton back home to see his family doctor once again. After spending three days at the hospital, and the doctor not being able to diagnose their son’s problem, a choice had to be made. Checking their young son out of Imperial hospital, they made the long grueling trip to the Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte. It was there that Colton would be diagnosed with a ruptured appendix and had to have emergency surgery. Mr. Burpo and his wife’s faith would truly be tested as they prayed their son’s life to be spared. After seventeen days and two grueling surgeries, their prayers were answered. Amazingly, Colton recovered rapidly from the ordeal and could finally go home.
On July 3, 2003 less than four months after his ordeal, Colton now four-years-old reveals the first of many accounts of heaven.
In my opinion, ‘Heaven is for Real’ is necessary read for anyone that doubts the possibility that there is a spiritual world awaiting our arrival. This read touched me profoundly in so many ways. I urge the reading audience to pick up a copy of this astonishing piece of literature – embrace the marvelous experiences this child has broadcast to the world – I have!
Barbara Watkins, freelance reviewer and author of ‘Nightmares & Daydreams’