Steve and his wife, Nancy, were enjoying a successful management career with one of America’s high tech corporate giants during the dot-com boom of the 1990’s when, in 1997, he and his wife Nancy discovered they were pregnant with their third child. Tragically, doctors said a chromosomal condition left their baby “incompatible with life.” The Peifers only spent 8 days with baby Stephen before he died.
Seeking to flee the pain, Steve and Nancy began a pilgrimage that thrust them into a third-world setting where daily life was often defined by tragedy—drought, disease, poverty, hunger, and death. They didn’t arrive in the service of any divine calling, but the truth of their surroundings spoke to their troubled hearts. A short-term, 12-month mission assignment as dorm parents for a Kenyan boarding school turned this ordinary man into the most unlikely internationally recognized hero, and his story will inspire you to pursue similar lives of service.
Steve Peifer serves as Director of College Guidance for Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. He established a rural food program in 2002 that provides lunches for 20,000 Kenyan schoolchildren a day. He has also built the first solar-powered computer-training center in Kenya, and is now developing twenty computer classroom labs for rural schools. For his work on behalf of Kenyan children, he was awarded the CNN Heroes Award for Championing Children in 2007, the 2007 Yale Counseling Award and the 2010 NACAC Excellence in Education Award. Steve and Nancy have four children.
Gregg Lewis is an award-winning author and coauthor of more than fifty books, including Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story, Take the Risk and The Big Picture.
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.
Continue the Burpos story in Heaven Changes Everything: The Rest of Our Story. Heaven Is for Real also is available in Spanish, El cielo es real.