Power of Prayer: Cune & Michelle Pena - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Tyler - 2/10/2007

Power of Prayer: Cune & Michelle Pena

"It was very dark. It was full of drugs. Literally drugs, sex and alcohol. Vanity, vanity, very full of self," remembers Premier Fitness owner Cune Pena.

It was the world of body building. It was a lifestyle Cune Pena adopted for himself. A world where self meant everything and no price was to high, even the sacrifice of personal convictions.

"Once I started using steroids," says Cune,  "its like I told you earlier, the moral walls of my life fell. It was like these walls fell and everything just no big deal.  I'm doing it for the right reasons.  I'm going to compete and I want to win.  And little did I know a couple of years later that was going to lead into marijuana usage, cocaine usage other recreational drugs."

Pena saw no reason to end the lifestyle, until he lost a contest he thought he should have won.

"I believe I have always had favor of the Lord in my life but I don't think if it hadn't been for that moment had I not lost that contest I think I would have continued. I think the Lord was telling me for the first time of many more to come, I'm tired of calling on you I need you begin to listen to Me at least a little bit."

That call was enough to get Cune out of body building but not the lifestyle. Moving to personal training, Pena met another trainer, Michelle. The would eventually marry. It was then, as Pena says, God would nudge him again along with his new wife. Doctors told them their first child would not survive child birth. For Michelle the tragedy would lead her to a faith in Christ. For Cune it was just another step.

"And I just said I'm just not that old Michelle anymore," says Michelle Pena,  "and that was just a turning point for me. I got involved in Bible studies. I did Beth Moore's breaking free Bible study and that was all she wrote..."

"And when I began to understand I was not in control of my life...and up to that point I was sharing with you earlier, I had the bulls by the horn I thought.  I was successful in business. I had a wonderful wife. We were going to have a baby at that point.  I got to a bad place in my life. I started using drugs even more, recreational, it was marijuana. Along with other things occasionally but marijuana was an everyday thing. And no one knew, no one knew I was doing that. She knew (Michelle)," says Cune.

Michelle privately began to pray for her husband.  Finally early one morning, Pena says he got the final nudging he needed.

"I was sleep walking but I was awake. I was awake and I walked to where I kept my drug. marijuana. Grabbed it. Went to my downstairs bathroom and flushed it all down the toilet. And it was still like I didn't know what I was doing," Cune remembers. "And as I'm telling this story its like I'm going back to that point and I was on my knees and I was crying and I don't know if I even said the right things other than Lord I want you to be in my life. Cause I no longer have control of this."

A lot has happened since that day. The Pena's opened Premier fitness. Along the way they credit their fellowship in church and men who mentored and held them both accountable. Today they believe their business is more of a ministry. It is not unusual to hear Christian music here and employees are free to share their testimony if invited by clients.

They have taken a lot of heat and criticism for some of the things they have done.  Including their decision just last year to end their popular yoga program because they felt it's roots were contradictory to their faith.  Even their new T-V advertisement is more about their faith than about exercise.

"It has been a challenging process," says Michelle  "It has not been easy. But we have so much joy I wouldn't trade one thing for the joy that I have in my heart and my life and my family. The obstacles we have come up against and whenever you take a stand for the Lord its not if the enemy is going to come and attack you its when. "

"Most people walk into this door because they are empty. Or they are at the place in their life they are overweight or in a place that all they are seeking is vanity and there is a reason for that. And I had that reason at one time."

All part of a testimony they Pena's say proves that when prayer changes a life, it really can change a life.

Clint Yeatts, KLTV 7 News.

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