In part one of this story, we discussed how three-year-old Colton Burpo became deathly ill from a burst appendix, which was misdiagnosed as severe stomach flu.
By the time of the surgery, poison from the burst appendix had been seeping through Colton’s tiny body for a full five days. Doctors and medical staff did not expect him to survive. Not only did he survive, he thrived, even after a relapse that leaked even more poison into his body, necessitating a second surgery to drain several abscesses.
About a year later, the family drove by the hospital where Colton was saved. When Todd asked Colton if he remembered the hospital, Colton said yes, that was where the angel sang to him. Shocked, Todd asked what the angels looked like. Colton said one of them looked like Grandpa Dennis, but it wasn’t him “‘cause Grandpa Dennis wears glasses.”
“Dad,” Colton said, “Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared. They made me feel better.”
“Jesus was there?” his father asked incredulously. Absolutely, Colton answered. In fact, he had been sitting in Jesus’ lap.
After this stinger of a comment, Colton went on to explain he had seen the doctor working on his body during surgery, as well as what his parents were doing at the time. How? “’Cause I could see you,” Colton explained. “I went up out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.”
So began the revelations of a little boy about what happened when he nearly died. Nearly. At no point did Colton die during surgery. He was near death, yes, but he did not die, at least according to official hospital records. This counts out what is called a near-death experience, which happens when someone dies and is brought back to life either through medical intervention or spontaneously. However, there are documented claims by people who have come near to death and left their physical bodies behind. These are called out-of-body experiences, or OBE’s. Perhaps this defines Colton’s experience.
As time passed and Colton turned four-years-old, he began to talk of his experience in more detail. He said Jesus had a cousin, whom he met. Jesus told Colton that his cousin had Baptized Him. Colton didn’t know his name, but he called him nice. Was this John the Baptist? Anyone familiar with the Bible would be surprised by that description. Fanatical, intense, relentless and wild, perhaps, but nice?
All of Colton’s descriptions were given in the present tense, as if what he saw was now. He said Jesus has a rainbow horse that only He is allowed to ride. He described many beautiful colors, explaining heaven is where all rainbow colors are. Jesus has markers, Colton said – which Todd, a pastor, later understood were the marks in Jesus’ hands and feet from the Crucifixion. Jesus has brown hair, Colton said, with hair on his face (a beard) and “Oh, Dad, his eyes were so pretty!”
Jesus wears a white robe with a purple sash – the only one in heaven who wore purple. And “he had this gold thing on his head,” Colton said. It had a “diamond thing in the middle, which was kind of pink.”
Colton said he did homework in heaven and that Jesus was his teacher. “Jesus gave me work to do and that was my favorite part of heaven. There were lots of kids, Dad.”
Colton explained that everyone in heaven has wings and all fly, except for Jesus who moves up and down like an elevator. He also described God, saying He and His chair are “reaaally big.” He also tells how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.
He said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great-grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each.
Todd asked his son – considering all he had done in heaven – how long he had been there. “Three minutes,” Colton answered matter-of-factly and turned to his toys to play.
Eventually Todd Burpo, with Lynn Vincent, wrote a book about his son’s experience. Colton chose the title: Heaven is for Real. The book, with its entire title, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, is available through Amazon.com and Thomas Nelson books.
Did Colton Burpo go to Heaven and experience other things he described? Perhaps so. One thing is certain: the story is truly remarkable and a mystery difficult to write off as fantasy. It also corresponds to another child’s story of visiting heaven, where she describes things that Colton seems to have seen. A painter and child prodigy, her portrait of Jesus is the only one Colton has seen that he says looks exactly like His face. We will visit her story soon.
(I have put together this article with the one which indeed came later on, about Akiane Kramarik, down below – Bhaga)
Children are so fresh from God it’s no wonder some of them are given visions and signs from heaven. Their innocent and trusting natures allow them to believe what we adults would never accept. This must be part of what Jesus meant when he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 18:3.
So perhaps it would do us well as spiritual beings to listen to a little girl who – she claims – has had visions and visits with Jesus. And whether you believe she has truly walked and talked with Jesus, one cannot deny her artistic and poetic talent.
Her name is Akiane Kramarik and she was born at home underwater, on July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, Illinois, to a stay-at-home Lithuanian homemaker mother and an American father, chef and dietary manager.
Akiane – whose name means ocean in Lithuanian – and her siblings were homeschooled for the most part and they had no television and few books, so when she began telling her family about seeing visions at age four, they were fairly certain what she was experiencing was not a result of outside influences. Her parents chose to support their daughter, which probably played a part in her prolific works.
Akiane began to sketch and write poetry at age four, advanced to painting at six and writing poetry at seven. Her first completed self-portrait sold for $10,000. A large portion of the money generated from art sales is donated by Kramarik to charities. According to Akiane, her art is inspired by her visions of heaven and her personal connection with God. “I am a self-taught painter,” she told Children’s Digest. “God is my teacher.”
Akiane explained to her family that God gave her the visions and abilities to create her artwork and poetry, which must have come as quite a shock since both her parents were atheists at the time. They later converted to Christianity on account of Kramarik’s paintings and visions. More than art was happening in their home. “Simultaneous with art was a spiritual awakening,” Akiane’s mother, Forelli Kramarik, told Christianity Today. “It all began to happen when she started to share her dreams and visions.”
Once, according to an article in New Connexion magazine, Akiane was staring off into space, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. Asked what she was doing, she simply answered, “I was with God again, and He told me to pray continually. He showed me where He lived. I was climbing transparent stairs; underneath I saw gushing waterfalls, and as I was approaching Him, His body was pure and intense light.
“What impressed me the most was His hands – they were gigantic! I saw no bones, or veins, no skin or blood, but maps and events. Then He told me to memorize thousands upon thousands of wisdom words on a scroll that did not look like paper, but more like intense light. And, in a few seconds, I got somehow filled up. From now on I will get up early to paint. I hope one day I’d be able to paint what I was shown.”
Although she was three at the time, she’ll always remember God’s first message to her. “He said, ‘You have to do this, and I’ll help you.’ He said, ‘Now you can help people.’ I said, ‘Yes, I will.’ But I said it in different words in my mind. I speak through my mind to Him,” she told Christianity Today.
When asked how she knows that it’s God who is speaking to her she said, “Because I can hear His voice….quiet and beautiful.”
Akiane was always consumed with the faces of subjects she painted, and she found that when she prayed the right vision always appeared. When she wanted to paint Jesus, however, she spent a year mulling over her model. Finally, she asked her entire family to pray with her. The next day, a giant of a man came to her door looking for work. He was a carpenter.
Akiane immediately knew this man would be her model for her painting of Jesus. Initially the carpenter agreed, but he changed his mind. “He said that he wasn’t worthy to represent his Master,” Akiane told Christianity Today. “He’s a Christian, and he’s a humble person. But I prayed that God would change his mind and that he would call back.”
The carpenter – who wishes to remain anonymous – did call Akiane back, saying that God wanted him to pose for the painting, resulting in the Jesus paintings Prince of Peace and Father Forgive Them.
The painting is startling. The eyes are loving and patient, but also piercing and fierce. He is beautiful. In fact, when Colton Burpo, the little boy who says he went to heaven at age three (see articles Part One and Part Two), saw the painting, he declared it to be the only one that ever captured what Jesus looks like. There have been many paintings since that one, though Prince of Peace is probably her most famous.
People may wonder, “Why did Jesus choose to contact Akiane?”
“I have been blessed by God,” she said simply. “And if I’m blessed, there is one reason and one reason only, and that is to help others. I am donating a big portion of money to charity and to combat poverty,” she said. “I want to help people. I want people to find hope in my paintings and draw people’s attention to God.”
See Akiane’s website and photo gallery here.
Thus ends the article about Akiane. Thanks a lot to Lori for her two articles which have provided the information that needed to be given about those two kids. My own feeling about both of them is that they are part of Earth’s new evolutive step!… More and more kids are special like that, one way or the other, nowadays.
I found on the net a very interesting short video that puts together an oral description of Jesus by Colton Burpo himself, plus a visual comparison between Akiane’s painting and the face that can be recomposed from the Shroud of Turin, said to have been the one used for Jesus’ body:
Well, after all this, why don’t you have a look at the post of mine on this blog, that is the most read of all? Its title is: ‘What Did Jesus Look Like?’ (https://labofevolution.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/836/)